Grandma Lee’s Nonya/Singapore Chicken Curry

Stewed chicken in a rich creamy coconut gravy, an iconic Nonya and Singaporean dish. This recipe must be at least 50 years old, and has been in the family for more than 3 generations. It is still cooked and served in the family for lunch or dinner.

It can be served with white rice (Thai fragrant long grain), baguette/French loaf, but our favourite and recommended option is a traditional lacy pancake, Roti Jala.

Although it was not stated in the original recipe, 1 medium local potato and 1 medium or large carrot, can be peeled and cubed (about 1″) then added during the last 15 min of simmering.


  • 1 whole chicken or chicken pieces (about 1 kg)
  • 1 onion (bawang)
  • 12 Tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp salt


  • 8 Tbsp Nonya chicken curry powder, click below to order Shermay’s Grandma’s Nonya Curry Powder Mix
  • 8 Tbsp water
  • 4 shallots (bawang merah), preferably the tiny sweet Southeast Asian ones, if not small red-skinned shallots or onions
  • 4 cloves garlic (bawang putih)
  • 4 slices ginger (halia)

Coconut milk

  • 250 g (½) grated coconut
  • 450 ml water
    (makes about 550 ml coconut milk)


  1. If a whole chicken is used, rinse then cut the chicken into pieces.
  2. Peel then slice the onion.
  3. Prepare the marinade. Mix the curry powder and water into a paste. Peel then pound the shallots, garlic and ginger together. Add to the curry paste then rub the marinade on the meat. Leave in the refrigerator for 1 hr or more.
  4. Prepare the coconut milk.


  1. Heat a wok over a high flame until it smokes. Add the oil.
  2. Stir-fry the onion until light brown.
  3. Add the chicken with the marinade.
  4. Stir-fry for 1-2 min, then add the coconut milk.
  5. Bring to the boil then simmer uncovered until the meat is cooked (20–30 min).
  6. Season with salt to taste. Serve with Roti Jala or white rice.


  • It is best to let it simmer uncovered, makes it less likely that the gravy will split (the oil separates and the gravy becomes grainy). It is easier to monitor the doneness of the meat and desired thickness of the gravy.
  • As it cooks, the sauce will thicken which means it there is a likelihood it will burn. Give it a thorough but careful stir at the bottom.
  • It is best to keep the remaining curry powder in the freezer and airtight, to retain the flavour and colour.

Shop Now To Make Your Own Nonya/Singapore Chicken Curry

We stock all the key sauces, sambals & marinades that you need to recreate this dish

Share This

Like This Recipe?

Why not share this post with your friends!