Malaysian Curry Kapitan: A Rich and Spicy Culinary Delight

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Malaysia is known for its vibrant and diverse cuisine, which showcases a remarkable fusion of flavors and influences. Among the many delicious dishes in Malaysian cuisine, Curry Kapitan stands out as a true culinary gem. This mouthwatering curry, with its rich and aromatic blend of spices, tantalizes the taste buds and takes you on a journey through the flavors of Malaysia. In this article, we delve into the world of Malaysian Curry Kapitan, exploring its history, ingredients, and the unique cooking process that makes it an irresistible dish.

The Origins of Curry Kapitan

Curry Kapitan is believed to have originated in the northern region of Malaysia around the 19th century, particularly among the Peranakan or Straits Chinese community. The Peranakan people are descendants of Chinese immigrants who settled in Malaysia several centuries ago and married local Malays. This fusion of cultures gave rise to a distinctive cuisine that combines Chinese cooking techniques with Malay flavors. The word “Kapitan” referred to Captain/Chief since it is said that chicken curry Kapitan was prepared by cooks to serve to the Captains/Chiefs during Western colonization in Malaysia.


The ingredients for Malaysian Curry Kapitan vary slightly depending on the recipe, but the basic ingredients include:

  1. Chicken or fish
  2. Coconut milk
  3. Spice paste (made with turmeric, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, chilies, and other spices)
  4. Water
  5. Fish sauce
  6. Palm sugar
  7. Salt
  8. Pepper


To make Malaysian Curry Kapitan, the following steps are typically followed:

  1. The spice paste is made by grinding together the spices.
  2. The chicken or fish is cooked in a pot with some oil.
  3. The spice paste is added to the pot and cooked for a few minutes.
  4. Coconut milk, water, fish sauce, palm sugar, salt, and pepper are added to the pot.
  5. The curry is simmered for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken or fish is cooked through.

Serving and Pairing

Curry Kapitan is typically served with steamed rice or roti (flatbread). The fragrant, spicy curry complements the plainness of rice or acts as a dip for the flaky roti. The addition of fresh herbs like cilantro and a squeeze of lime enhances the overall taste.


Malaysian Curry Kapitan is a testament to the culinary richness and diversity of Malaysia. Its complex blend of spices, aromatics, and carefully chosen ingredients creates a curry that is both bold and comforting. Whether you savor it with chicken or seafood, the explosion of flavors and the aroma of this dish will transport you to the vibrant streets of Malaysia. If you’re seeking a delightful adventure for your taste buds, don’t miss the opportunity to dive in. 

Article curated by Naw Eh Wai Htoo