This Malaysian curry recipe is from Meribe Jaman, born in Cocos Island but who came to Australia in 1974. Meribe is part of the Cocos-Malay community of Geraldton, WA. This makes enough to serve eight people, so it's great for large families or entertaining friends.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (56 votes)


  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp belacan (shrimp paste)
  • 6 garlic cloves 
  • 1 brown onion
  • generous handful of large red dried chillies soaked for a few seconds in hot water
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 candlenuts
  • 375 ml (1½) cups water
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 whole chickens, jointed or 2 kg chicken pieces with bones
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • jasmine rice, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Blend the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, tamarind paste, turmeric, belacan, garlic, onion, soaked dried chillies, salt and candlenuts to a thick paste, adding the water to make it smooth.

Cook the paste in a large wide pan with a little oil until aromatic and then add the chicken pieces and coconut milk, reserving about 100 ml to add at the end.

Cook the chicken for about 30 minutes or until tender and cooked through. Add the remaining coconut milk and lemon juice and serve with steamed rice.