Gulai Ayam Nyonya
Nyonya Herb Garden
Fresh Chilies and Key Lime


4 large red onions
5 cloves garlic
3 cm piece old ginger
2 tablespoons meat curry powder
15 dried red chilies, soaked in hot water and seeded
4 fresh red chilies, seeded
2 cm piece fresh tumeric root
3 stalks lemon grass, white part only
4 candlenuts
2 teaspoons crushed toasted belacan
1 star anise, petals separated
3 cloves
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cm piece cinnamon stick
1.5 kg whole chicken, cut into 12 pieces or 1.5 kg chicken pieces of your choice
2.5 cups thin coconut milk
3 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into wedges, deep fried till light golden
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 chicken stock cube
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
Pre frying the potatoes enhances its colour and prevents it from breaking up while cooking. After adding the thick coconut milk, never allow the curry to boil, or it will split, a strict no no.


1.Using a food processor or pestle/mortar, finely grind onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder, dried and fresh chilies, turmeric root, lemon grass, candle nuts, belacan and spices.
2.Heat oil, fry cinnamon stick till fragrant. Add ground ingredients, stir fry over medium heat till fragrant and oil separates.
3.Add chicken pieces, fry over high heat, till lightly browned, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
4.Add thin coconut milk, slowly bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered till chicken is tender.
5.Gently stir in potatoes.
6.Add thick coconut milk and stock cube. Bring to a slow simmer over gentle heat, stirring continuously. Remove from heat as soon as you see the first simmering bubbles.
7.Add salt to taste, sugar and lime juice.
8.Serve hot with hot white rice or lightly toasted bread.

Nyonya Chicken Curry

Nyonya Chicken Curry, “Gulai Ayam Nyonya” (Bahasa Malaysia), “Kali Kay” (Hokkien), is an aromatic, medium thick curry. It’s taste differs from Malay and Indian curries. Using a myriad of herbs such as red onions, lemongrass, old ginger, candlenuts and turmeric root create the uniqueness. Additionally, dried and fresh red chilies lend a slow burn heat, gradually warming your palate. I fondly remember my maternal grandmother cooking a large pot of this curry for Chinese New Year eve, accompanied with yellow glutinous rice. Indeed, I looked forward to the leftovers the next day. The flavours would have intensified, making toasted bread it’s perfect partner.

Click here to view our shortlisted Top 5 Nyonya food you need to try in KL!

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