Balinese Chicken Curry

A recipe from Kat – Surry Hills

I love this curry – The flavour develops beautifully with each mouthful….. Starting off slightly sweet and then a slow rise in heat….. Take the time to make a really smooth spice paste and make sure you allow it time to cook out the raw flavour of the paste before adding the other ingredient.


For the spice paste:

  • 4 candlenuts (or 2 teaspoons ground almonds if you can’t get them)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 6 red shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 long red chillies
  • 3 small red chillies
  • 2 fresh lemongrass stalks
  • 3 tablespoons chopped galangal
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh turmeric
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated palm sugar


  • 2 fresh lemongrass stalks
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 salam leaves (or curry leaves if you can’t get them)
  • 600g chicken thigh fillets (no skin)
  • 250ml water
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp
  • Sea salt
  • 250ml coconut milk

Method –

  • Prep all ingredients for spice paste – peel and cut shallots and garlic; trim and seed long chillies; trim small chillies and lemongrass; peel and chop galangal, ginger and turmeric and grate palm sugar.
  • Prep all other ingredients – bruise lemongrass and tie into a knot then cut chicken into bite size pieces.
  • Grind all spice paste ingredients in mortar and pestle (or grinder) until it’s a smooth paste. Usually takes about 20 minutes
  • Heat oil in wok over medium heat and add spice paste and cook until when you inhale over the top it is smooth (trust me on this – you can tell the difference!) – usually takes about 5-7 minutes
  • Add lemongrass, lime leaves and salam leaves and fry for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the chicken and toss for 2-3 minutes until its sealed.
  • Add the water, tamarind and salt. Simmer until chicken is cooked.
  • Add coconut milk and simmer for around 10 minutes.
  • Check seasoning and add salt if required

Serve with rice and some lime wedges.

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