Chicken Kurma

There was a time when the mutton kurma from Dawood Restaurant at Queen Street never failed to make me salivate. Somewhere along the way, it began to taste different and I have stopped yearning for it. Through the years, I have tried this dish from other Indian Muslim restaurants but it just did not have that X-factor to make me go back for more. I have tried cooking it. Still, it was never the same.

Nowadays, most spice pastes used for cooking are premixed. I remember being a small kid following my mother to the Air Itam wet market where an Indian lady would be selling an array of spice pastes. Those came direct from her batu giling, a flat surfaced granite grinding stone with a granite pin. The aromas of those pastes were heavenly. One only needed to tell her what type of curry and how much meat and she would mix the paste and wrap it in a sheet of banana leaf.

Two days ago, while shopping at the newly renovated Sunshine Square Supermarket, Wuan and I came across this stall selling spice paste. We knew for sure the paste did not come from a batu giling but his kurma paste looked good. We asked the young Malay man how much was needed for half a chicken and he recommended 150g. We also bought RM1 worth of coconut milk. I have to forgo cooking mutton kurma because red meat is no longer something I can indulge in anymore.

Wuan could not get chicken at the market yesterday. We decided to cook it today. When we took out the frozen coconut milk out from the fridge, I discovered that it had gone bad. Since Makro is just next to my apartment, Wuan went to get a packet of vacuum packed santan from there. Most kurma recipes call for plain yoghurt and ghee to be used. I have substituted those with coconut milk and cooking oil. Additionally, red or green chillies can also be used to add more colour to the dish.

The kurma tasted nice but as this is the first time I am cooking with this paste, it does not taste as good as it should. My food now has to contain very little salt. I have taken the liberty to adjust the recipe and the amount of ingredients used to suit those who do not need to cut down on their salt intake and prefer more flavour in their kurma. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Chicken Kurma

200g kurma paste

1/2 chicken, cut into approximately 10 pieces

250ml coconut milk
1/2 cup water

2 medium sized potatoes, cut into wedges
2 onions, cut into wedges
1 medium sized carrot, cut into wedges
4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp cooking oil

Heat oil in wok. Fry garlic and onions until fragrant. Add kurma paste and fry until fragrant. Add chicken and stir until they are coated in the paste. Add water, salt, potatoes and carrots. Cover the wok and let simmer until chicken is cooked and the potatoes are soft. Make sure there is enough gravy to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the wok. If gravy dries up, add some coconut milk. When almost ready, add coconut milk, stir and let it simmer for another 3 minutes. Serve with rice.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

22 thoughts on “Chicken Kurma”

  1. Greetings Peter. Good job man. These are the sorts of articles I am looking for. Ones that will be useful for people wanting to learn more about Malysia, it’s food, people culture etc. I hope you will join my Malaysian bimonthly contests soon.

    If you do please do include your author’s bio too so it willpromote you and your website. God bless.

  2. Jeremy Rizal,
    Let me know what you need. Thanks.

    There are many variations. The one I cooked is nowhere near those I have tasted as a kid.


  3. sHee,
    You are welcome. I think we need to tweak the recipe a little bit more. I will post another version when I am really satisfied with it.

    You can always look up recipes for kurma and see which variation you like. Alternatively, try it at the Mamak’s first and see if you like it first before attempting to cook. Bon appetit.

  4. Looks yummy. I love to cook. Definitely will cook for my wife this weekend.

  5. wahhhhh…. so yummy man the way you describe the food. one day i wanna try your cooking, can ah? 🙂 we do pot luck in penang? 😀

    take care,

  6. simyin,
    You can eat all you want when you are back. 😀

    Pot luck? Can… Anytime. Just let me know. That will be fun.

  7. There is Makro in Penang?!?

    Try using mushroom seasoning to replace salt. We hardly use salt at home and Mushroom seasoning replaces both salt AND sugar.

  8. dear peter,

    can you tell us which blog is your favourite and why?

    ayam kurma…
    it makes me think of my mother’s cooking

    I was feeling cold and hungry,
    suddenly my mother came to me and gave me a pot of kurma chicken…
    I was so touched… I felt so happy.
    I hugged her and tears kept running down my face.
    It was a very emotional evening…

    please don’t leave me..
    I really love you….

    a blog reader
    – Life Feel

  9. Herbert,
    Thanks for sharing.

    Mushrooms are restricted food in my diet. My food are mostly cooked bland.

    I wish I could sher it with you. 😀

    Life Feel,
    I have a list of blogs that I read frequently. Mostly, I like to read blogs that touches on life.

  10. i miss all my malaysian food! meals are expensive here in melbourne ;( gonna try chicken rice on monday..wahha.. pandan leaves cost a bomb!

    we should meet up and hav a potluck! ;P

  11. jean`,
    I love Hainan chicken rice!!! Lets arrange something when you are back. Even if I can’t eat most of the food, the sight and smell of it is good enough.

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