Nonya chicken curry

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“Nonya Chicken Curry” a delightful amalgamation of aromatic herbs and spices of South Asia!

“Nonya or Peranakan cuisine” from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore is a fantastic cuisine where flavours from China, South Asia and India meet together and create something extraordinary. Nonya chicken curry, the recipe I am sharing today is an excellent presentation of that!

Nonya chicken curry and simple rice, a perfect combination!

This super aromatic Nonya chicken curry goes fantastic with steamed jasmine rice or basmati rice. To make it more exotic; I like to steam my rice with a small piece of lemongrass, pandan leaf and kaffir lime leaves, trust me the aroma is sublime!

Nonya Chicken Rice and roti or parathas, a good combination?

In Malaysia, chicken curries are often served with roti prata or roti jala. I like to serve this delicious Nonya Chicken Curry with my layered parathas and a simple salad. It is perfect for brunch or lunch.

Ingredients you need for this Nonya Chicken Curry.

For this Nonya chicken curry, you need some unique ingredients from South Asia such as pandan leaves, candlenuts and lemongrass. Candlenuts are often hard to find but don’t worry I have got you covered if you can’t find candlenuts you can use macadamia nuts or cashew nuts instead. If you can’t find pandan leaves, don’t worry about it too, those are aromatics, without it, the curry will taste as tasty. Recently I had the honour to cook this curry with the chef extraordinaire Atul Kocchar, and the recipe can be seen on in his IGTV video.

So this is how you make this recipe!

Nonya Chicken Curry 1
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4.75 from 12 votes

Nonya Chicken Curry

A delicious chicken preparation from Nonya cuisine.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Malaysian, Nonya, Singapore
Keyword Nonya Chicken Curry
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Marination time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 55 minutes
Servings 4
Author Gayatri Singh


Ingredients for chicken marination:

  • 500 g skinless chicken leg and thighs
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp lime juice

Ingredients for curry:

  • 200 g potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 120 ml water
  • 1 tsp or to taste salt
  • 1 stalk lemongrass slightly bruised
  • 1 pandan leaf optional
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Ingredients for curry paste:

  • 200 g small shallots or red onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 small stalk lemongrass
  • 2 or to taste red chilli padi
  • 6 dried red chillies soaked in water deseeded if too spicy
  • 1/2 inch turmeric root substitute 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 candlenuts substitute macadamia nut
  • 1 tsp each fennel and cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander stalks and roots
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp palm or coconut or brown sugar


  • Marinate the chicken in soya sauce, curry powder and lime juice for a minimum 30 minutes to overnight.
  • Make a fine paste using all the ingredients mentioned for curry paste using a very little water. Keep it aside.
  • In a heavy wok or pot, heat 1 tsp oil and brown the chicken pieces from sides. (This is optional, I like to do it to get a better texture on the chicken.) Keep it aside.
  • In the same pot add in the rest of the oil. Add the lemongrass stalk, pandan leaf, wait for 20 seconds. Tip in the curry paste and saute for 10 minutes or till its fragrant.
  • Tip in the browned chicken, potatoes and curry leaves. Mix well with the curry paste. Stir-fry for 5 minutes, so the chicken is coated well.
  • Tip in the coconut milk and water and simmer for 10-15 minutes or till the chicken and potatoes are cooked.
  • Garnish it with coriander and serve hot with rice or roti paratha.

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