Nyonya Chicken Curry with Herb & Dried Shrimp Rice (Nasi Ulam)

By Poh Ling Yeow
Serves  6
Print recipe


  • 1kg Lilydale Free Range Chicken Bulk Thigh Fillets, halved
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large stick of cinnamon
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 12-15 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1kg baby chat potatoes, peeled, halved, par boiled in salted water
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 200-250ml water
  • 2-3 tsp sugar OR to taste
  • 1-2 tsp salt OR to taste
  • Fresh coriander for garnish
  • Rempah (Spice Paste)
  • 15 dried chillies, snipped into quarters and covered in boiling water for 30 minutes
  • 2 medium brown onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 20g belachan
  • 25g fresh turmeric or 1 Tbs ground turmeric
  • 3 Tbs ground coriander
  • 1 Tbs ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground fennel
  • Rice
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dried shrimp, covered in boiling water for 30 minutes
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted on a baking tray in oven at 170ºC until deep golden brown
  • 1 packed cup of finely chopped mixed herbs - laksa leaf, mint, Thai basil, coriander
  • 6-8 kaffir lime leaves, centre vein removed, sliced as finely as possible
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • Salt to taste


  1. To make the rempah, blittz all the rempah ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. To make the curry, combine the rempah, oil, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and curry leaves in a large heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously and cook until very fragrant and a deep brown. Add the chicken, coconut milk and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the chicken until cooked through. Add the salt and sugar to taste.
  3. To make the rice, stir the rice and oil together in a heavy based, medium non-stick saucepan. Stir in the water and bring to the boil. Cover and reduce heat to the most minimal simmer for 10 minutes or until no liquid can be seen but finger sized pits are dotted across the surface of the rice. Keep covered for another 15 minutes. When rice is cooked through, loosen the grains with spatula and allow to cool a little.
  4. Finely chop the soaked dried shrimp in a food processor, then toast with a dash of vegetable oil in a non-stick fry pan, over medium heat until pungent and golden brown. Add to the rice with the toasted, shredded coconut, fresh mixed herbs, kaffir lime leaves and fold until everything is combined. Add the sugar, then salt to taste.
  5. Garnish curry with extra coriander. Serve hot with the rice.

Nyonya Chicken Curry

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