Mdm Choo’s Ayam Masak Lemak

Written by: Kampung Eats

ith strong Peranakan roots, Mdm Choo fostered a natural love for spicy food over the years. She would often volunteer as a chef at Churches to cook Peranakan-based dishes. One of her favourite dishes is Ayam Masak Lemak, which translates to chicken in turmeric coconut curry. While she's not able to cook it nowadays because of old age causing blurred vision and weakened arm strength, Mdm Choo fondly recollected and shared her process of cooking her go-to dish.

“The key ingredient here is coconut milk, which gives the dish a ‘lemak’ (creamy) mouth-feel.”

Mdm Choo shares that the key ingredient here is coconut milk, which gives the dish a ‘lemak’ (creamy) mouth-feel. Fresh spices are crucial for making any curry as it brings out natural, earthy flavours. When cooking the curry, ensure the blended mixture is stir-fried until fragrant enough before incorporating the other ingredients.

My sister and I preparing ingredients
Khao Yam, before mixing
Mr Chan
My dad, Chan

Mdm Choo's Ayam Masak Lemak

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Recipe by Choo Kiak Kwang Course: MainCuisine: Malay, PeranakanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • To blend
  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 inch ginger, chopped

  • 2 stalks lemongrass, pounded

  • Other Ingredients
  • 1 kg whole chicken, chopped into ~12 pieces

  • 3 tomatoes, sliced

  • 6 potatoes, sliced

  • 3 cups coconut milk

  • 5 tbsp coconut oil

  • 2 turmeric leaf, thinly sliced


  • Add ingredients 'to blend' into a blender and blend (add ~1 cup water if the consistency is not smooth enough)
  • In a pot, add coconut oil on low-to-medium heat. Pour in the blended mixture, cooking until fragrant.
  • Add turmeric leaves, stirring for 1-2 minutes before adding the coconut milk and chopped chicken. Leave it to boil
  • Add tomatoes and potatoes, boiling for 10-15 minutes
  • Let it simmer until the chicken is cooked before serving

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With special thanks from the Kampung Eats team to Mdm Choo!

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