Malaysian Chicken Curry & Roti Canai

Serves 4
Time 45 minutes (+overnight proving time)


1 cup vegetable oil
125g ghee or clarified butter, melted


Roti Dough
500g (3 cups) plain flour
60ml (¼ cup) milk, plus extra if necessary
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp caster sugar, or to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil


1kg chicken thighs
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp ghee or oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised and cut in half lengthways
3 kaffir lime leaves
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
3 long red chillies, roughly chopped
5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp nyonya curry paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
400ml coconut milk
1 tsp coconut sugar (or soft brown sugar)
250ml chicken stock
400g green beans, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths
Handful of coriander leaves, roughly torn
Salt and pepper


For the roti, combine ingredients and 180ml water in a food processor and blend until a soft, sticky dough forms. Add a little more milk (10ml) if needed.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, elastic and shiny (8-10 minutes).

Pour oil into a bowl and add the balls of dough, turning each to coat well, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to rest (at least 1 hour or ideally overnight). Roll out each ball to a 20cm round on a lightly oiled work surface.

Carefully stretch dough in a circular motion with lightly greased hands until very thin, pulling gently from underneath as you go.

When the dough is wafer-thin, dab lightly all over with melted ghee
Fold opposing edges over so they overlap in the centre like an envelope, and trapping air under the folds.

Heat a little ghee on a flat grill or tawa over medium-high heat, add roti and cook until golden and crisp (1-2 minutes each side). Repeat with remaining roti and ghee.


For the curry, coat the chicken thighs in the ground turmeric and season well with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to a large, non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat and drizzle over the ghee or oil. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the sliced onion and shallots, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, star anise, cinnamon, and chopped garlic, chilli and ginger.


Stir through the nyonya curry paste until everything is coated, then add the soy sauce, fish sauce, coconut milk, sugar and chicken stock. Stir well until combined, then leave to simmer for about 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked.


Add the green beans about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, and serve with a garnish of coriander and fresh roti bread.