Living in Japan – Cooking a Red Meat/Chicken Curry/Korma
by Omar Shafiq

As Malaysians, we’d certainly miss the aroma and flavor of Malaysian style curry, which is commonly enjoyed with rice or sorts of breads. Korma is a grey curry with a milder taste and similar cooking method.

I’m going to give a little guide on how to make this meal using available resources in Japan.
This recipe is good for any kind of meat (cooking time varies for each type of meat)

Here are the basic ingredients:

  1. 1 kg of chicken meat (preferably with bones) – cut into similarly sized pieces and marinated with salt and pepper. Halal meat can be found online at For beef, slice perpendicularly across the meat strands.
  2. 3 heaped tablespoons of curry/korma powder – made into thick paste by adding some water. Personally I’d recommend Baba’s curry powder or Adabi’s korma powder but any brand from any shop will do. Use more for thicker sauce (requires more oil to cook)
  3. 1 large onion – sliced/minced
  4. 3 cloves of garlic – sliced/minced
  5. 1 inch ginger – big slices
  6. 2 large potatoes – cut into quarters
  7. 200-400ml of coconut milk (usually sold in 400ml can) – more makes milder curry
  8. Cooking oil – avoid using olive oil
  9. Salt and pepper



  1. 1 large tomato – sliced any way
  2. 1 carrot – chopped into bite size pieces
  3. 1 star anise, 1 cinnamon, 2 cloves
  4. 2 heaped tablespoons of plain yogurt (curry only)
  5. A handful of cashew/macadamia nuts – blend/finely crushed. Macadamia can help tenderize beef and mutton.


Cooking instructions:

  1. Heat enough oil in a large pot over medium heat. Not enough oil will cause the curry paste not to cook properly. Sauté the onion, garlic and ginger until they change color for about 3 minutes. (add the optional spices together if any)
  2. Stir in the curry/korma paste and sliced tomato (for korma, tomato is added before turning off the heat), cook for another 5 minutes or until the color darkens, being careful not to overcook. Add more oil if the paste lumps together. Don’t worry about excessive oil as it can be removed later.
  3. Add the chicken and potatoes into the pot and submerge with enough water. Mix well and wait until it boils. (if the sliced potatoes are small, you may add them later when the chicken half-cooks, together with the carrot)
  4. Just when the chicken starts to cook, add the coconut milk. This is usually up to one’s preference. Less means stronger and spicier curry, while more means milder curry. Stir in the nuts too. It is important to let it boil for a few minutes and turn the heat down to simmer for about 30 minutes. Regularly stir the mixture to prevent the coconut milk from lumping on the surface.
  5. If the curry is too hot and spicy, you might also tame it with a few dollops of yogurt. This adds a bit of sourness to the curry. Be careful as using more coconut milk/dairy product spoils the curry quicker, so its best to store in the fridge for the next day.
  6. Turn off the heat and season well with salt and pepper.


Cooking with coconut milk requires patience and attention for the curry to really come together harmoniously. Curry/korma tastes better the longer it sits. As always, taste often when seasoning and approximating. Over-seasoning cannot be undone and is not healthy.

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