Nonya Chicken Curry


  • 3½ lb / 1.35 kg free-range chicken
  • 4 tbsp groundnut (peanut) oil
  • 3 onions, peeled and chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • red chillies, deseeded, to taste
  • 1 in / 2.5 cm fresh turmeric root, peeled and chopped
  • 10 blanched almonds
  • 2 lime leaves (optional) or 1 bay leaf
  • 4 lemon grass stalks
  • 4–6 tbsp good quality curry powder or paste
  • 1½ pt / 850 ml coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime


Joint the chicken quite small, using poultry shears to cut thighs into two and breasts into several pieces. In a heavy frying pan, heat the oil, and fry one of the chopped onions with the salt until lightly browned. Grind together the red chillies, turmeric root, almonds, lime leaves or bay leaf, lemon grass and curry powder or paste, and add this paste to the pan. Fry for 5–8 minutes until fragrant, adding a little coconut milk if the mixture shows signs of catching. Add the chicken pieces, and turn them well in the spice mixture. Fry for 5–10 minutes, and then pour in the remaining coconut milk. Bring to the boil, partially cover, and simmer for 30–35 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Just before serving, stir in the lime juice. Add more salt if necessary, and serve with rice or one of the Indian flat breads.