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Malaysian Nyonya Style Curry 'Kari Kapitan' Pork Ribs Recipe

Sunday, December 11, 2011 | Labels: , , , , |

Today's feature is a much-loved curry dish in our household and perhaps in a lot of Malaysian households as well.  This is one of the many famous signature dishes by the Straits Chinese (which I referred to here as Nyonya) who were the early settlers in Malaysia (then Malaya) from China who mostly lived in Malacca, Penang and Singapore - hence the name Straits Chinese.  Nyonya cuisine is a delectable and unique blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian and a bit of Thai cuisine - somehow everything blends together deliciously and seamlessly.  Kari kapitan has obvious Thai influences, looking at the use of kaffir lime leaves and tamarind juice - this dish has a fresh and fragrant dimension which does well at cutting into the richness of the dish.

Malaysian Nyonya Curry (Kari Kapitan) Spareribs

If you prefer your curries less rich, you can always skip or halve the use of coconut milk.  I can guarantee though that if you are a curry lover, you will probably love this variation.  This dish does require a little bit of time and effort as the spice paste does take some time to prepare although it is by no means difficult at all.  This extremely appetising dish is great with the usual rice or you can also serve this with rotis (Indian flatbreads) like naan, paratha and yes even with regular toast - utterly scrumptous.


Serves 4
Serving suggestion: with steamed rice/ rotis like roti paratha, naan/ regular toast


500g of pork ribs, sliced to bite-sized (substitute with chicken thighs if desired)
Handful of fresh kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 cup coconut milk (optional - I did not use)

1 teaspoon light soy sauce, or to taste

For the spice paste - either use a food processor to mix together or pound with mortar and pestle for the traditional way

5 tablespoons cili boh
10 shallots, skin removed
4 cloves garlic, skin removed
2 stalks lemongrass
1 tablespoon worth of belacan (shrimp paste), toasted until fragrant (either dry-fried or toasted in oven)
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
3 candlenuts (optional)


Heat up your wok until almost smoking.  Add about 5 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat.  Note that spice pastes usually 'eat up' quite a bit of oil.  Add in the spice paste and fry until aromatic.

Add in rib pieces and stir-fry, add in the tamarind juice and kaffir lime laeves.  Turn heat down and allow to simmer on low heat liquid has mostly dried up.

Add in coconut milk if using, season with soy sauce, bring to a boil and add in the lime juice.  Mix well and dish out.

Malaysian Nyonya Curry (Kari Kapitan) Spareribs


Small Kucing said...

love this. almost ordered this dish when we were at the nyonya restaurant the other day

Loveforfood said...

my favourite la.. kapitan.

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

haha I do love Nyonya food!

Daphne said...

Look at this!! I love making a similar version at home as well but yours look spicier! 

PencilKitchen said...

i definitely love my curry rich and thick! so double the coconut milk! :) Lovely recipe... looks like the one i had in restaurants!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I always love curry and this year I heard so many nyonya food and I wish to have authentic nyonya food one day.  As always Jen, your photos are so stunning!  

Cacheur Herve said...

Can you please give the quantity for the tamarind juice?

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

Nami, please visit Malaysia one day! haha I will definitely take you around :)  Thanks for your kind comments as always!

My Little Space said...

I love kapitan curry alot too and yours look really tempting and in great colour.
Thanks for sharing & hope you're having a fabulous festive season.

Yi Reservation said...

I am a big fan of Nyonya curry but I can only speak of my experience from local Malaysian restaurants here in New York. I am sure the real deal would be a lot more authentic!
I seems the only ingredients I don't have in my kitchen is candlenuts but I can probably proceed without it. Will try this recipe soon. Thanks for sharing!

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

Hi there, I did try one Malaysian restaurant in NYC and it's near Chinatown but I forgot the was alright actually much better than the ones in CA :)

Hope you like this!

Debs @ The Spanish Wok said...

Sounds lovely, but what is cili boh? said...

Love love LOVE tasty curries!!  Many thanks for the excellent recipe :-)

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