Gulai ayam

Gulai ayam

Whole chicken curry

The Complete Asian Cookbook
Alan Benson

You really need a tough boiling chicken for this recipe, because the longer the cooking time, the better the flavour. If using a roasting chicken, shorten the cooking time so that the chicken doesn’t fall apart, and reduce the sauce as described at the end of the recipe.


Quantity Ingredient
2kg whole chicken
1 litre thin coconut milk, or as needed
3 teaspoons chilli powder, or to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons salt
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 stem lemongrass
or 2 strips lemon zest
1 small stick cinnamon
1 pandanus leaf, (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon ghee


  1. Truss the chicken as for roasting and put it into a large saucepan with enough coconut milk to come two-thirds of the way up the bird. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the fennel, lemon juice and ghee. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the fennel and lemon juice, turn the bird over, and continue simmering until the chicken is tender, adding more hot water or coconut milk if the liquid cooks away.
  2. Pour the sauce into a bowl, leaving the bird in the pan. Add the ghee to the pan and fry the bird, turning it on all sides, until golden brown all over.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan after browning, pour the sauce back into the pan to reduce and once thickened return the chicken to heat through. Add more salt and lemon juice, to taste. Serve with rice and other curries.
The Complete Asian Cookbook
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