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White Chicken Curry (Gulai Putih)

White Chicken Curry (Gulai Putih)
Friday, 29 May 2009


This recipe and others can be found in the 12-part illustrated series "A World of Curries". You can read all about this unique Indian flavor here.



At a glance
East Indian
Cooking Method
Slow Cook
Heat Level
Main Course
4 to 6
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups coconut milk, recipe here
1 3-pound chicken, cut up into 3/4-inch cubes
5 small dried red chiles, such as piquins, stems and seeds removed (optional)
4 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 small piece galangal, peeled and chopped (or substitute ginger)
1 whole clove
6 cashew nuts
6 almonds
6 candlenuts (or substitute macadamia nuts or cashews)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 curry leaf (optional)
3 tablespoons ghee (recipe here) or vegetable oil
3 bay leaves
2 stalks lemongrass, bulbs included, left whole
1-inch cinnamon stick


Combine the garlic, turmeric, salt, and 1 cup of the coconut milk in a non-reactive bowl and marinate the chicken in the mixture for at least 1 hour.

In a food processor, combine the chiles, shallots, galangal, clove, nuts, cumin, coriander, curry leaf, and 1/2 cup coconut milk and puree to a fine paste.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok, add the paste, and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken, 1 cup coconut milk, and the remaining ingredients and cook, uncovered, over low heat until the chicken is tender, about 40 minutes.  Add a little water if the curry starts to dry out. Remove the bay leaves, lemongrass, before serving, leaving the cinnamon stick as a garnish.    

Additional Tips

This lovely dish from Sumatra is popular in Singapore, where cashews and almonds are combined with the candlenuts.  Some versions of this dish omit the chiles, which is very unusual in Spice Islands curries. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation


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