Donal Skehan: Indonesian chicken curry

One of the most aromatic curries you will ever taste

Indonesian chicken curry: bursting with flavour

Indonesian chicken curry: bursting with flavour

Fri, Jun 17, 2016, 12:00

  • Serves: 4
  • Cooking Time: 45 mins
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Thai/South-East Asian


  • Serves 4 For the curry paste:5 shallots
  • 2 small red chillies
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 6 cashew nuts
  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh turmeric (you can substitute dried, but fresh is better)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4tsp shrimp paste
  • 5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bashed and tied in a knot
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 lime leaves
  • 750g chicken breast, diced
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • Sea salt


Janet De Neefe shared this recipe at her cooking class at Casa Luna. Like many Asian dishes, the most difficult part of the recipe is the prep work. But once the slicing and pounding is done, you are left with the makings of one of the most aromatic curries you will ever taste.

When we ate this dish in Bali, it also included choko, a type of gourd, which you can see in the photograph.

You can substitute butternut squash and add it after the chicken, or leave it out. Place all the ingredients for the curry paste in a food processor and blend until smooth and evenly combined.

Heat the oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the curry paste, lemongrass, bay leaves and lime leaves. Cook for a minute until coated in oil and fragrant, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken and cook for two to three minutes, until lightly browned.

Add the tamarind paste and 200ml of water and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid has reduced slightly.

Pour in the coconut milk slowly and stir through until it is fully incorporated.

Cook for a further five minutes, until slightly reduced. Season to taste.

Serve with boiled rice.