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Ayam Kapitan

Ayam Kapitan

Tina Chen
Malaysian Curry Chicken
Course Main Course
Cuisine Malaysian
Servings 4


Curry Paste

  • 3-4 stalks fresh lemongrass (or 1 Tbsp dried ground lemongrass)
  • 3 candlenuts or macadamias (or 6 almonds or cashews)
  • 2 fresh red chilis, seeds and veins removed
  • 1 inch knob of fresh turmeric (or ½ Tbsp ground turmeric)
  • 1 inch knob of galangal or ginger (or ½ Tbsp ground ginger)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-3 dried chilis or crushed red pepper to taste

Other Ingredients

  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-1.5 lbs boneless chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp xylitol or erythritol (or 1/4 tsp THM Super Sweet blend)
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice


  • Chop all the ingredients for the curry paste into small enough pieces for your blender to handle. Put in the blender with enough water to blend into a paste. Don’t worry about adding too much water; you can always cook it off later. Traditional Ayam Kapitan has largish pieces of chopped onions to give a pearl-like appearance, which many Malaysians feel is necessary for Ayam Kapitan to be authentic. My children, however, do not like to see their onions, so I put them in with the curry paste ingredients in the blender. You can do either without much difference in taste.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. A cast iron dutch oven works really well for this too. Cook the onions till soft if you haven’t blended them.
  • Lower the heat to medium, and add the curry paste to the hot oil (and onions if they’re there) and cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the chicken and cook until it turns white on the outside.
  • Add the coconut milk and bring it to a boil on high heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Simmer on low heat until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  • Add salt, sweetener, and lemon or lime juice. Stir and turn off the heat. Leave the lid half on for about 5 minutes to let the flavors set.
  • Serve with cauliflower rice or konjac rice or noodles for a THM S/keto meal. For a THM crossover, serve with rice and/or potatoes.
Keyword curry