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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kari Kapitan (Captain's Curry)

When I was young I often think that Kapitan is a mysterious Malay word that means someone in power or royal sort of character. Not until much later that I figured Kapitan is nothing but "Captain" in English. That makes the name of this dish all the more interesting, here is the version I heard from my pals in Melaka:

It was said that in 18-20 centuries, British colonized the then Malaya. Many of the British officers (a.k.a Captain) was based in Melaka for its world famous seaport. These officers often keep the local Chinese or Baba Nyonya as domestic helper, most often time, Nyoyna as cook for their culinary skills.

So the story goes like this, there were this Baba cook whose master loves curry but not able to tolerate the heat in taste. The cook constantly struggled to come up with good recipes that satisfied his master's taste bud yet low in heat.

One fine day he was out and about and suddenly he smells something interesting, mild yet good enough to draw attentions, he follow the smell and found an old lady preparing meal with a pot of curry on the stove. He asked to try the food, and immediately fell in love with the dish, he then went home with the recipe and tried to recreate the it back in his master's house.

It was coincidentally that his master was having some guest over that particular day, the guest tried and loved the new creation, he then asked for the name of the dish, when summoned by the master, the cook politely responded :" Kari, Kapitan."

The guest and Kapitan both took the answer quiet literally and thought the name of the dish is "Kari Kapitan". The Kapitan ordered for the dish many more times later, and quiet unintentionally, coined the name for the dish!

Well.... Not sure how true is this hearsay...  all I am sure is... this is one good kari dish!!


4-6 Drumstick (Or half chicken, Cut into about 2 inches in size) Marinate with a little Turmeric and salt For 10 minutes
2 Cup of thick Coconut Milk

Herbs & Spices:

Blend into Paste(Or pound into paste using mortar and pestle):

2 -3 Lemon Grass(Use only the white part, cut the green part into about 2-3 inches and bruise and keep it aside)
1 Inch of Galangal or substitute with 1/2 inch of ginger root
1/2 Inch of Ginger Root
1 Inch Turmeric Root or 1 tsp of turmeric powder
10 Shallot
1 Medium Size Onion
3 cloves of garlic
3 Candle nuts or  Macadamia or 5-6 Cashew nuts
1 tbsp of Belachan
10-12 dried chillies  or increase or decrease according to taste

4-5 Kaffir Lime Leaves shredded

2 tsp Salt
1-2 tsp Brown Sugar or Palm Sugar

1. Prepare all the ingredients accordingly, heat up a cookware, pour in about 1/4 cup of cooking oil, add the blended spices and green part of lemongrass, cook until oil shows at the edge of paste.

2. Now add chicken pieces, continue cooking at medium heat until the chicken skin is slightly bronwed. Add shredded kaffir lime leaves, turn well, now pour in the coconut milk and 2 cups of water, bring to boil, then turn the heat down and continue cooking for at least 20 minutes, add salt and sugar, continue to cook until gravy thickened.

Note:This dish is best serve after 10-15 minutes after it is cooked, the gravy will further thickened as the heat turned off and will taste even better when it is slightly cold.

Delicious curry from my hometown Melaka!

For Chinese --》 甲必丹咖喱鸡


  1. 这道kapitan curry chicken真让看了大流口水的。你好厉害哦!谢谢你的分享。我也想学一学。

    1. 那里那里。。欢迎多多来玩哦!这个咖喱很下饭,每次一不小心我就吃多了。

  2. My weakest dishes are cooking curry. I will try this Kapitan Chicken. It looks easy and taste good. Thanks....

    from Michelle


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