Burmese Dry Chicken Curry Recipe

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Servings: 1


  • 2 x Onions, rough minced
  • 5 x Cloves garlic, rough minced
  • 1/2 x Inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 stk lemon grass, roughly minced
  • 2 x Red chillis seeded and minced (habaneros work well, you'll need rather more Thai chillis)
  • 1 Tbsp. Fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 tsp Grnd turmeric
  • 4 Tbsp. Veg oil
  • 3 lb Chicken (preferably free range) cut into curry pcs* (skin on but you can remove if preferred) (up to 4)
  • 4 x Green (or possibly two black) cardamon pods
  • 2 Tbsp. Rough minced coriander/cilantro leaf Salt and fresh grnd black pepper


  1. *Curry pcs: cut off both legs and thighs together taking as much meat as possible from the carcass at the top of the thigh, separate legs and thighs. Cut down along breast as far as wing at side of breast bone to expose ribs, cut through ribs at top along length of breast bone, cut through ribs at bottom of breast as far as wing, cut wing at joint with body and remove breast and wing as one piece, cut into two approximately one third along breast from wing.
  2. Grind the first 7 ingredients (ie up to and including the turmeric)
  3. together into a smooth paste (food processor/pestle and mortar etc). Heat oil in wide frying pan or possibly wok and add in paste, stiry-fry till moisture has evaporated and paste has started to brown. Add in chicken pcs and stir well, scrape bottom of pan to prevent sticking. Cover tightly and simmer for 35-45 min - there should be sufficient liquid given off from the chicken during cooking but check now and then and stir. If chicken does get too dry and starts sticking/burning (and it's never happened to me) add in a Tbsp. or possibly so of water and stir in, scraping residue off bottom of pan.
  4. Shortly before chicken is ready slit open cardamom pods and extract seeds, crush seeds in pestle and mortar and add in to chicken with coriander leaf, stir and simmer for a further minute or possibly so, taste and adjust seasoning.
  5. Serve with plain rice or possibly coconut rice. Drink beer: Singha, Bintang or possibly Tiger beers are excellent, Pilsner Urquell is good too.
  6. Ken Hom has a similar recipe but he omits the Nam Pla and adds 1 tbsp dry sherry and two tbsp soy sauce just before the simmering that makes it much more like a Straits Chinese or possibly Nonna dish.


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