Lily Kwok's Chinese Chicken Curry

Total Time
1hr 20mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr

I saw this on The People's Cookbook and just had to try it. It was submitted by Lily's grand-daughter Helen, who told the story of how Lily left Hong Kong, bound for England on a three month sea voyage. At every port Lily would collect spices and experiment with them. When she arrived in England, she perfected this curry and made it for friends and neighbours, later opening a restaurant based on this dishes popularity.Lily is still alive and still cooking curry for friends and neighbours. This dish beat the opposition and won it's way into The Peoples Cookbook. It's a great curry with big, bold flavours, worth every bit of effort that goes into it. Just remember Lily when you eat it.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. SAUCE:.
  2. Heat the oil or ghee in a heavy based pan or wok over high heat. Add the onion and stir fry for 3 minutes, or until starting to soften, but not brown.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and continue stir-frying for 30 seconds and then reduce heat to very low and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is completely soft, but nothing browns.
  4. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili and curry powders and continue cooking very gently for 5 minutes. Don't burn the spices or they will taste acrid; sprinkle on a few drops of water if you're worried. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool a little.
  5. Put the water into a food processor or blender, then add contents of the pan. Blend until everything is very smooth, then add both flours and blend again. Put the pureed mixture back into the pan and simmer for 20-30 minutes (longer the better) over a very low heat, stirring occasionally. Add a little hot water if it starts to catch, but the idea is to gently fry the sauce so that it darkens in colour to an orangey brown. Once you have a thick paste, gradually stir in the stock and simmer until the sauce has reduced.
  6. CHICKEN:.
  7. Season the cornflour and toss the chicken strips in this to coat them. Heat the oil in a large fry pan over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry for a couple of minutes, until they turn white. Add the onion and the peas and stir-fry a few minutes more. Then stir in the curry sauce and heat until everything is hot.
Most Helpful

My dad knew Lily Kwok. Her's was the first curry he ever tried. Over the years he visited their takeaway in Middleton, Manchester every Friday with his dad, my older brother and then me. My dad asked her daughter Mabel for the recipe many times. Instead, she always gave him extra portions of the sauce for free! It may take a while to make but it is completely worth it. When I make it, it brings back happy memories of my dad.

davidbroomhead.db.db April 11, 2016

5 Stars for the taste! Plus I have a serving for lunch tomorrow! Unlike mikekey, I do not have "labor intensive" issues...I looked at the time allotted and knew I'd be busy a while. However, the cooking times seemed to exceed what was specified. So be prepared to spend at least 2 to 3 hours on this dish, not 1 1/2. I couldn't get my sauce to brown in the time allotted, and exceeded that timeframe. The flavor of this dish is wonderful! But I think you should be prepared for a longer time in preparation and cooking! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.

breezermom February 14, 2010

Very tasty and just the right amount of heat and spices! It IS a little labor intensive, so will make it for special occasions. I think it would be good with shrimp, as a previous reviewer made it, so will give that a try, too!

Outta Here June 28, 2009