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Chicken Kapitan

Chicken Kapitan, Ayam Kapitan, Curry Kapitan

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x


Authentic recipe for Chicken Kapitan or Ayam Kapitan a legendary Nyonya curry from Singapore and Malaysia – rich, thick and aromatic.


  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) chicken
  • 500ml (2 cups) coconut milk
  • 6 fresh lime leaves (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp crispy fried shallots

Grind to a paste

  • 1 large onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2.5cm (1″) ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2.5cm (1″) galangal
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, bottom half
  • 10 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
  • 5 candlenuts (substitute with macadamia nuts)
  • 1 Tbsp shrimp paste, toasted


  1. Grind the relevant ingredients to as fine a paste as you can.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on high heat and sauté the the paste for about 2 minutes, lowering the heat slightly if you have to. You’ll know when you’ve done it long enough because not only will the aroma be extremely strong but the you will notice that the oil and paste are distinctly separate.
  3. Add the chicken pieces, coat thoroughly.
  4. Add the coconut milk and salt and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is done, 30-45 minutes, depending on what portion you’re using, legs will take longer.
  5. About 5 minutes before the end of cooking time, add the lime leaves and check seasoning.
  6. Serve, sprinkled with the crispy shallots.
  • Category: Main Course with Rice
  • Cuisine: Nyonya


  • Serving Size: 4-6