Greg's Ayam lemak
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Ayam lemak literally means "chicken cooked with coconut", and it doesn't really count as a curry. This particular recipe is derived from something I found in an Australian Women's Weekly cookbook. The photo and the recipe didn't match at all: the photo showed a bright yellow dish, caused by ½ teaspoon of turmeric over 8 chicken thighs. It also included peas, which are completely out of place. As I have modified it, it has a nice, creamy sauce and tastes good with nasi lemak.


Previous versions of this recipe included “traditional measures”. They were pretty meaningless to begin with (“between between 2 and 20 cloves garlic”), and they've proved to be quite a problem as I've started tuning the recipe. See my measurements page for further details. If you don't have appropriate measuring devices, you're probably still better off guessing from the quantities mentioned below.

quantity       ingredient       step
2 g       cinnamon       1
0.7 g       cloves       1
2 g       star anise       1
2.5g       black pepper       1
20 g       garlic       2
20 g       ginger       2
200 g       onions       2
90 ml       cooking oil       2
10 g       turmeric powder       3
4 g       chili powder       3
400 ml       tomatoes       4
1 kg       boneless chicken thighs, cut into three pieces each       5
400 ml       coconut milk       5
150 ml       water       5
20 g       salt       5


  1. Warm the cinnamon, cloves, star anise and pepper in an oven at about 50°C for about 10 minutes to dry them out.
  2. Finely mince the onions, ginger and garlic in a blender with the oil. There's plenty of oil here, since it'll be needed for frying later on. Don't clean the blender yet; you'll need it for step 4. Fry gently until the paste starts to dry out (the oil will separate), about 10 minutes.
  3. While the onion paste is frying, grind the spices from step 1 in a spice grinder. When the oil separates from the onion, add the spices, turmeric and chili powder and mix well. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Puree the tomatoes in the blender.
  5. Add the meat and mix in well. Add water, coconut milk and tomatoes to barely cover and the salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until nearly cooked, about 45 minutes.


Take 2 pieces of chicken (equivalent to 2/3 of a thigh) and some gravy to a total of 150 g. If cold, warm in a microwave (1 kW) for a total of 40 seconds in two steps of 20 seconds each: first only the meat, then add the gravy. This is because the gravy has more water and thus heats up faster. If you do it in one step, the gravy will boil and the meat will still be cold inside.

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