Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gulai Ayam

How many times would you feel this way? For me, it happened many times and it happened again. I was feeling silly and pissed at myself for forgetting to take the final picture of the product that I'm able to portray to everyone. However, after contemplating so many times, I decided to go ahead and post the final one and only picture I had because I felt that this recipe from Penang Heritage Food is very good and worth the try for anyone who sees its recipe here even if my picture(s) don't do it justice. I had made curry chicken or rather, kulai ayam (as the Nyonyas in Penang call it) umpteen times but this recipe is definitely one of the best I've tried. The flavour and the curry has this special oomph that you just want to eat until you are full. Anyhow, I hope the pictorials below will help to give added points to my final picture.

Gulai ayam as Nyonyas in Penang calls them is usually cooked with many dried spices like coriander, cumin, fennel and cinnamon but curry leaves are not used. However, for my version, I'm using curry leaves so as to bring out the fragrance of the curry.

For ease, I bought powder form of most of the spices stated in this recipe and I also blended the garlic, onion, ginger and cloves instead of pounding them. This makes it a lot easier and less hectic for anyone who wants to make curry but yet not be turned off by the complexity and hours of labouring in the kitchen. My modifications are written in blue.


  • 1kg chicken (I used about 1 packet of drumsticks bought from the supermarket)
  • 500g potatoes (I used about 6-7 medium size potatoes, skinned and halved them)
  • 1 coconut, grated and squeezed for coconut milk or 220ml coconut milk (I used 220ml milk for health reasons)
  • 5 cm old ginger
  • 3cm fresh kunyit (turmeric) (I only used about 2 tbsp turmeric powder to marinate the chicken drumsticks)
  • 15 (about 110g) shallots (I used 5-6 big red onions as they were what I had)
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 4cm cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 lobes of star anise (I omitted this as I didn't have it in my pantry)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
Curry powder ingredients:

  • 10 dried chillies (I used about 2-4 tbsp chilli powder - adjust according to the level of spicyness you can take)
  • 2-3 tbsp curry powder
  • 4 tbsp coriander (I omitted this as I didn't have it in my pantry)
  • 1 tsp jintan manis (fennel) (I used powder form)
  • 1 tsp jintan puteh (cumin) (I used powder form)


Cut away the fats from the chicken drumsticks (if any) and dry them with kitchen paper. Marinate them with turmeric powder for about 1/2 hour or more.

Peel the potatoes and set them aside. I prefer to soak the pre-cut potatoes in water as they tend to blacken easily if set aside for a long time.

Next, we need to prepare the rempah or otherwise known as the spice mix for the gulai (aka curry). As mentioned earlier, for convenience, I'm using my food processor or you can use the blender to help you. 

First, blend the shallots or red onions together with garlic.

Then, you add the ginger.

And then you add cloves.

Then you add the jintan manis, jintan puteh, curry powder, chilli powder. Before you continue to blend, add about 20ml water to the whole mixture.

That will give you the rempah for the gulai like the picture below.

Heat up the oil and when your pot/wok is hot, add the rempah and stir fry the rempah together with curry leaves for about 10 minutes until it is fragrant. Add the chicken pieces and cinnamon stick. Stir to coat the chicken with the rempah.

Add the milk and then, potatoes, bring to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. For seasoning, I only added 2 chicken stock cubes and 1 tbsp brown sugar.

As mentioned earlier above, below is the final picture I had after cooking the gulai kay. After this, it was all a blur as everything happened too fast - scooping the gulai kay to the bowl and eating the gulai kay before any pictures were taken. Yes, bad excuse but it did happen.

Nevertheless, I'm truly convinced that this is an excellent kulai kay dish although no pictures were taken of the final dish. I promise I'll make this again before the month and update this post with a better final picture.

I'm going to submit this post to the Malaysian Food Fest Penang Month hosted by Alan of Travelling Foodies.

Also, I'm submitting to the Cook-Your-Books for June.

Lastly, I'm also submitting to this to June's Little Thumbs Up hosted by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, my little favourite DIY and Miss B from Everybody eats well in Flanders.

No comments: