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Chicken in Coconut Curry Recipe – Ayam Lemak

Chicken in Coconut Curry - Ayam Lemak

Chicken in Coconut Curry Recipe – Ayam Lemak

A wonderfully fragrant Malay dish that uses fresh aromatic roots and herbs to create an enticing flavour. If you don’t like your food fiery hot, omit or reduce the amount of chillies called for in this recipe.

Ingredients :

  • 1 fresh chicken (about 1 kg/ 2 lbs), washed and cut into serving pieces
  • 2 cups (500 ml) water
  • 3 cups (750 ml) thick coconut milk or 11/2 cups (375 ml) coconut cream mixed with 11/2 cups (375 ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3-5 finger-length chillies, halved lengthwise and deseeded
  • 5-10 red or green chilli padi (bird’s-eye chillies), left whole (optional)
  • Crispy Fried Shallots, to garnish (optional)

Spice Mix

  • 21/2 cm (1 in) fresh turmeric root, peeled and sliced, or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 21/2 cm (1 in) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 5 red finger-length chillies, deseeded and sliced 10 shallots, peeled
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, thick bottom third only, outer layers removed, inner part bruised
  • 21/2 cm (1 in) fresh galangal root, peeled and sliced
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

Method :

  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and set aside.
  2. To make the Spice Mix, grind the turmeric, ginger, chillies, shallots and garlic to a paste in a mortar or blender, adding a little oil if necessary to keep the blades turning. Heat the oil in a wok over medium to high heat, add the ground paste, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and ground coriander. Then reduce the heat to medium and stir-fry for 5 to 7 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the chicken and stir-fry until all the pieces are coated with the spices, about 1 minute. Then add the water, increase to medium high heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is half cooked, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and season with the salt and pepper. Continue to simmer over medium to high heat for another 25 minutes. Then add the chillies and cook until the meat is tender, another 10 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with the Crispy Fried Shallots if using.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time 30 mins
Cooking time : 55 mins


Source :
the food of Singapore
Simple Street Food Recipes from the Lion City
by David Wong & Djoko Wibisono
photos by Luca Invernizzi Tettoni
introduction by Lee Geok Boi


See also Singapore Cooking “Indian Mutton Soup Recipe – Resep Sup Kambing”