Singapore Chicken Curry (without coconut milk)

I’ve suffered from digestive issues most of my life and recently realized that I might have a coconut intolerance. I usually have “tummy issues” after consuming most things coconut – milk, water, etc. As such, I’ve started to avoid foods with coconut in them (if I can help it) and so far my tummy has been okay.

One thing I do miss is curry. I am a little sad I can’t enjoy Thai green curry anymore (I don’t think the coconut can be substituted there), but I am happy that this version of my favorite Singapore chicken curry isn’t too bad. The hubs enjoys it as well. Feel free to use coconut milk if you don’t have issues with it. It will taste better in my opinion. The evaporated milk does give it a lighter taste, but the curry is still nice and creamy.

Singapore Chicken Curry

(taken and adapted from here)


  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks
  • 3 large potatoes, cut into large chunks (you can peel them if desired)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 30g ginger slices
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 5 small shallots
  • 50g chili paste (type of chili is pictured below) (grind fresh red chilies into a paste using the food processor; if fresh red chilies are not available, re hydrate 25g dried chilies of the same variety, then grind to a paste in food processor) (I get my dried chilies from the Indian grocery store. Do not use the smaller bird’s eye chili, it will be too spicy)





  • 5 tablespoons curry powder (I use the Babas brand)
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil (vegetable/canola/peanut etc.)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
  • 20 curry leaves
  • 600ml water
  • 200ml evaporated milk or coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon chicken powder


  1. Using a food processor, blend the ginger, garlic and shallots till smooth.
  2. Add the chili paste and curry powder to the ginger, garlic and shallot mixture and mix well to combine. This is the rempah or spice paste.
  3. Heat a pot and add the oil. Fry the rempah till fragrant, about 5 minutes. If the rempah gets too dry and is going to burn, lower the heat and add some water, a little at a time. At the 2 minute mark, add in the onion chunks.
  4. Add the chicken, lemongrass and curry leaves. Mix well and fry for another 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add the water and potatoes and bring curry to a boil. Lower heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add in the evaporated milk/coconut milk and bring curry to a boil.
  7. Season curry with salt, sugar and chicken powder, then lower heat and let simmer for another 20 minutes.
  8. Turn the heat off and let the curry sit for about an hour before serving. This allows the chicken and potatoes to absorb the flavor of the curry.
  9. Serve curry with rice, prata or bread.

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