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How to Make Malay-Style Curry Fried Chicken (Ayam Goreng Berempah)


I grew up in Malaysia, where I enjoyed cooking and eating local dishes every day.

Malay-style curry fried chicken (ayam goreng berempah)

Malay-style curry fried chicken (ayam goreng berempah)

My mother cooked this Malay-style curry fried chicken, known locally as ayam goreng berempah, countless times when I was growing up for big family gatherings.

It starts with a great blend of rempah, or spices. I'm lucky enough to get the essential spices at an Asian store near my house. In addition to the dried spices, the recipe calls for fresh lemongrass, curry leaves, and turmeric root. Without the fresh ingredients, the recipe won't taste the same as what my mother cooked.

If you love fried chicken with lots of flavor, then you will definitely love this dish. The aromas that waft through the kitchen as the chicken fries with the spices are wonderful!

Serving Suggestions

In Malaysia, we often eat this dish with steamed white rice. It's also great alongside spicy sambal and sliced cucumber. I've included the recipe a quick and easy sambal, below. It is a combination of Thai red chili, garlic, shallot, tomato, salt, sugar, and lime juice. To make it, I used a mortar and pestle because that's how we do it in Malaysia.


For the chicken and marinade:

  • 2 skinless chicken breast, cut into strips or cubes
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, roughly cut
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1 1/2 inch ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 inch turmeric root (or 2 teaspoons ground turmeric)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (omit if you don't like spicy)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or more, to taste)
  • 2 strings curry leaves
  • 1 egg
  • Water for blending
  • Oil for frying

For the sambal:

  • 4-5 Thai red chilies
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Sugar and salt for the taste

For serving:

  • Steamed white rice
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Cilantro for garnish



  1. Marinate the chicken: In a blender, combine the garlic, red onion, lemongrass, turmeric, ginger, sugar, salt, and water. Blend it until it forms a paste. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, curry powder, ground cumin, fennel seeds, and ground cilantro.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and the paste. Add the spice mixture. Use your hand to incorporate the paste and the spice with the chicken. (By the way, I wear a glove for this step.)
  4. Add the cornstarch, egg, and curry leaves to the chicken. Use your hand to incorporate until the chicken is well coated.
  5. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let the chicken sit in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours (the longer it marinates, the better it gets).
  6. In the meantime, prepare the sambal. Combine the Thai chilies, tomato, shallot, and garlic in a blender. Blend for 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add sugar, salt, and lime juice and mix evenly. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and keep in the fridge.
  7. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
  8. Place coated chicken pieces into the pan gently, using tongs, to avoid splashing oil.
  9. Fry the chicken, flipping each piece every 5 minutes. Cook until the pieces turn golden brown. Continue frying the chicken until it's all done.
  10. Remove the chicken from the pan.
  11. Place the chicken in serving bowl or plate. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
  12. Serve immediately with steamed white rice, sambal, and sliced cucumber.

© 2020 Liza


Liza (author) from USA on October 22, 2020:

Thanks for pinning the recipe, Peggy. The chicken was delicious. It will be one of the menus I'll be making at least twice for fall and wintertime. I hope you'll find the ingredients to make this Malay-style fried chicken!

Liza (author) from USA on October 22, 2020:

Nothing beats a crispy fried chicken! The spices mix in the marinade was essential in the dish. I'm glad I have followed my mother's recipe. Thank you for commenting, Linda.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 22, 2020:

I am going to pin this recipe and hope to make it soon. It looks and sounds delicious! Thanks!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2020:

The mixture of spices and herbs sounds delicious! I think it would be wonderful on other foods besides chicken.

Liza (author) from USA on October 21, 2020:

Hi Nigel. I'm glad to hear that! Thank you for commenting.

Liza (author) from USA on October 21, 2020:

I'm flattered by your comment. The fried chicken indeed was scrumptious! My husband already asked me to make more of the chicken soon. The marinade is quite tedious because of the spices mixture. Perhaps you can find them at the Asian store or grocery store at your place. However, feel free to ask me if you have any questions. I'm happy to help. Best of luck!

Liza (author) from USA on October 21, 2020:

Yes, it is Flourish. Thank you for reading!

Liza (author) from USA on October 21, 2020:

You have to try to make it from scratch, Sp. You'd be pleased with the result. By the way, I prepared the chicken marinade early, so the spices absorb thoroughly in the meat. I hope one day you will have a chance to try the recipe.

Nigel Koay from Malaysia on October 21, 2020:

Fav fried chicken to have on a frequent basis, thanks for the recipe, now i can make it at home haha.

Liza (author) from USA on October 21, 2020:

Thank you, Liz. We had a delicious dinner yesterday! The fried chicken was a smash!

BringingSpring from Western North Carolina on October 21, 2020:

This looks so scrumptious! I have never made anything like this and want to try it as soon as possible. I’m not sure if I can get every one of the ingredients here, but I will try. But oh boy does this look good! I’m going to get everything ready and surprise my husband with it sometime soon!

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 21, 2020:

I bet this is wonderful.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 21, 2020:

This looks delicious. I never make my marindes from scratch but I bet the homemade ones are tastier than the shop ones. Need to try it one of these days.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 21, 2020:

Reading your recipe and seeing the high quality illustrations makes me hungry.

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