Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kari Kapitan (Captain's Curry) 甲必丹咖喱

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 of the origin of the name of this dish I heard from my pals in Melaka:

It was said that in 18-20 centuries, the British colonized the then Malaya. 

Many of the British officers (a.k.a Captains) were based in Melaka for its world famous seaport. These officers often keep the local Chinese or Baba Nyonya as domestic helpers, most often time, Nyonya as a cook for they are known 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 (as in spicy) in it. 

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 his attention, he follows the smell and found an old lady preparing a pot of curry on the stove. 

He asked to taste the food, and immediately fell in love with the taste of it, he then went home with the recipe and tried to recreate the dish back in his master's house.

It was coincidentally, that particular day his master was having some guests over that particular day, the cook served the curry to the guests and it was loved by both the master and his guests. 

One of the guest then asked for the name of the dish, when summoned by the master, the cook politely responded :" Kari, Kapitan (Captain)."

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

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


这些官员家里都会雇有当地的华侨或者Baba Nyonya(娘惹族)厨子。尤其娘惹族擅长烹饪,是英国官员很喜欢的选择。当时有个厨子因为家里的甲必丹(Captain)很喜爱吃香料做的菜肴却又不善吃辣,就绞尽脑汁想办法要做出一道味道好又不太辣的咖喱。

有一天,厨子看见当地的一位老太太在做饭,所做的料理很香,闻起来味道也不呛,就跟老太太要求试试她的那道菜。结果一试,厨子就非常喜欢,还跟老太太要了做法。当天回家厨子就根据甲必丹的口味和老太太给的配方调制出一道咖喱鸡。当天甲必丹的家里请客,客人吃了这道菜非常喜欢,就问甲必丹这道菜的名字,甲必丹把厨子叫出来,问他这是什么菜呀?厨子就毕恭毕敬的回答了一句:“Kari, Kapitan”。客人和甲必丹很顺其自然的就以为这道菜名字叫做 Kari Kapitan了。后来每次请客,甲必丹都会让厨子做这道“Kari Kapitan”久而久之,这道菜就这么被定名了。



5-6 Chicken Drumsticks (Or half chicken, Cut into about 2 inches in size) Marinate with a little Turmeric and salt For 10 minutes
2 Cups of thick Coconut Milk

Herbs & Spices:

To be blended into Paste(Or pound into paste using mortar and pestle):

2 -3 Stalks of Lemon Grass(Use only the white part, cut the green part into about 2-3 inches, bruised 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 of Turmeric Root or 1 tsp of turmeric powder
50 g of Shallot
1 Medium Size of Bombay Onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
3 Candle nuts or Macadamia or 5-6 Cashew nuts
1 tbsp of Belachan
10-12 dried chillies (increase or decrease according to taste)

4-5 Kaffir Lime Leaves  shredded

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


4-6 只鸡腿 (或半只鸡切块)用一点黄姜粉和盐巴腌 10分钟
2 杯浓椰酱 


2 -3根 香茅 (取白色部分,其他绿色部分可以切段拍扁备用)
1 寸 兰姜 (Galangal)新鲜或者干的都可,也可用半寸姜代替
1/2 寸 老姜 (Ginger Root)
1 寸 黄姜 (Turmeric Root)或 1 tsp 黄姜粉代替
50 克 红葱 (Shallot)
1 只 中型洋葱 
3 瓣 蒜瓣
3 只 石栗 (Candle nuts) 或 Macadamia 或 5-6 只 腰果
1 大匙 虾酱 (Belachan)
10-12 只 辣椒干 (根据口味增减)

4-5 片 疯柑叶 (Kaffir Lime Leaves)  切丝

2 小勺 或适量 食盐
2 小勺 红糖 或 椰糖 (Palm Sugar)

1. Prepare all the ingredients accordingly. Heat up about 1/4 cup of cooking oil in a cookware. Add the blended spices and the bruised lemongrass, cook until oil shows at the edge of paste.

2. Add chicken pieces and continue cooking at medium heat until the chicken skin is slightly browned. 

3. Add shredded kaffir lime leaves, and add 2 cups of water, bring to boil and turn the heat down to medium, continue cooking for 20 minutes, add coconut milk and season with salt and sugar.

4. Continue cooking until gravy thickened, about another 20 minutes.

Note:This dish is best serve after 10-15 minutes after it is cooked, the gravy will thickened further and the taste of spices will blend better, resulting in much rounded taste.

1. 把材料都准备好。热好一口锅,倒入大约 1/4 杯的食油,把搅拌好的辛香料和刚刚切段拍扁的香茅一起煸炒至边上泛油。

2. 把鸡肉块倒入,一起煸炒至鸡皮有点焦香的样子。加入疯柑叶丝,稍微翻炒,倒入2杯水大火煮滚转中或火焖煮大约20分钟,加入浓椰浆、盐和糖调味。继续中火焖煮至浓稠即可,大约20分钟。



  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