Chicken Peratal, a dry chicken curry

This is another winner, adapted from one of my favourite heritage cookbooks. It reminds me of a combination of chicken curry and rendang, the way the gravy clings onto the chicken, but made in a fraction of the time.

Chicken Peratel

Adapted from Mdm Krishnan’s South Indian Recipes

Serves 4

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoons chilli powder (use a mild one)

1 teaspoon salt

9 tablespoons oil (I used duck fat)

2 ½ cm stick cinnamon

3 cloves

3 cardamom

1 star anise

3 sprig curry leaves

250g onions, sliced

20g ginger, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon chilli powder (use a mild one)

1/2 teaspoon fennel powder, coarsely pounded

2 teaspoons salt

Handful of coriander leaves, chopped

1. Marinate the chicken with turmeric powder, chili powder and salt and set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Heat 6 tablespoons oil in a wok and fry the chicken in batches until lightly browned on all sides.

3. Remove the chicken from the wok and pour off any excess oil.

4. Add 240g water to the wok and scrape any browned residue off. Keep this gravy for later.

5. In a clean wok, heat 3 tablespoons oil and the whole spices.

6. When the oil is hot, add the curry leaves and heat until the leaves pop.

7. Add the onions to the wok and fry until lightly browned.

8. Add the chopped ginger and garlic. Fry for 1 minute.

9. Add the chilli powder, fennel powder, salt and chicken. Fry for 1 minute.

10. Add the reserved gravy and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked and the gravy has been reduced and coats the chicken. Taste and adjust seasoning.

11. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and stir it through.



Pamelia Chia is a Singaporean chef and the author of the bestselling cookbook ‘Wet Market to Table’. After graduating with an Honor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from the National University of Singapore in 2014, she decided to trade a food scientist’s lab coat in for chef whites. She has since been working in restaurants in Singapore and Melbourne, including Candlenut and Carlton Wine Room. Her deepest interest being the preservation and celebration of Singaporean food heritage and culture, she started Singapore Noodles in 2020 as a platform to share about Singaporean food to a global audience. Find her on Instagram @pameliachia.

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