Malaysian Pineapple Turkey Curry

by Jackie Miao

It’s mid-August, and my entire facebook plus instagram feed has been bursting with media about Crazy Rich Asians. The movie was filmed in Singapore and Malaysia (where I’m from), and it’s making me miss a lot of things about home. I haven’t had a chance to watch the movie yet, but…

The idea of home really made me nostalgic for the crazy rich flavors of my heritage.

Needless to say, I went straight to the familiar, and made a Nyonya-style pineapple curry that my grandma used to make except for one detail; she didn’t use ground turkey. Turkey isn’t really a thing in Malaysia or Singapore except for christmas, when we would eat it in the Western style with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy.

My mom loved cooking with pineapple when she was around. I personally love making pineapple curry with lamb, but since we ate a lot of red meat this week, I decided to go for white meat and used ground turkey instead.

This dish is spicy, hearty, and super delicious!

You’ll love it if you appreciate a bit of sweet and sour to cut the spiciness of the coconut curry. The acidity works beautifully, and the curry begs to be eaten with hot steamed rice. You can make this dish with any kind of ground meat (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, whatever works for you), but not seafood, as the curry blend for seafood is different.

It’s important to note that you have to use Malaysian or Singaporean curry powder.

Commercially-packaged Indian Madras curry powder blends from India, UK, Vietnam, wherever else will not work, as it is stronger on the cumin and anise note. Those blends are usually more acrid-tasting and go better with yogurt or dairy as is typical of Northern Indian cuisine, but it doesn’t pair well with the flavors of the tropics. Thai yellow curry would yield a different flavor because of the lemongrass and kaffir lime note, so if you want the authentic taste, stick with Malaysian curry powder.

What you need is the Nyonya-Mamak blend like 888, Adabi Chicken And Meat Curry Powder, Babas, or YEO’S Malaysian Curry Powder. Look for them in the Asian markets, or online.

Trying out a new plugin

I’m using a new recipe plugin, but it seems that the formatting isn’t compatible with the code of this WordPress theme. It’s a little buggy and requires a bit of time for me to go fix the CSS. However, all the texts are there, and if you click on PRINT IT, you should have perfect formatting.

Malaysian Pineapple Turkey Curry

A simple stove-top Malaysian-style curry that captures the beauty of fusion flavors.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Malaysian, Nyonya
Keyword: Curry, Malaysian, Pineapple, Tropical, Spicy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: Jackie Miao


  • 1 lb ground turkey, organic
  • 1/2 ripe, fresh pineapple, cute into 1 1/2" by 1/2" pieces
  • 1/2-1 cup coconut milk, Chaokoh

Curry Base

  • 1/2 head yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Red jalapeno or large chillies, sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil, use more if it's not coating all the curry powder
  • 3 tbsp Malaysian meat curry powder, 888 brand
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp fish sauce


  • 2 tbsp Chopped cilantro (optional)


  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a 10" to 12"' skillet or wok on medium high heat (nonstick and stainless steel is fine). When your pan is hot, add onions and stirfry until semi-translucent (approx 3 mins), then add chopped garlic and fry some more (approx 30 secs).
  • Add your red chillies, and continue frying for about 30 secs, and add the curry powder. (You may need to drizzle more oil in order to get the curry powder fully coated and sizzling.)
  • Turn down the heat to medium. (You want to get a nice sizzle but don't want to burn the curry). Fry the curry with enough oil and your aromatics until it is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. It should look like this.
  • Once your curry paste doesn't look raw anymore, add your protein.
  • Fry it until it's about half done, then add the salt and fish sauce for flavor.
  • Continue frying until the protein is fully cooked, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the pineapple, and mix it well. You want to soften and simmer on medium heat gently, about 5 minutes.
  • Once your pineapple looks cooked, add the coconut milk. I like to keep it light by using 1/2 cup, but if you want more sauce and richness, use 1 cup.
  • Continue simmering for about 4 mins, or until the coconut milk is fully incorporated with the curry gravy, and it looks like a beautiful golden yellow like here. Taste your curry and season it to taste. If you like your curry on the saltier side, you can add more fish sauce or salt.
  • Finally, garnish your curry with cilantro. Serve the curry with piping hot rice and any steamed vegetables of your choice, or portion it out for your meal prep like what I've done here.


How do you veganize it?

If you're vegan or vegetarian, you can use firm tofu for your protein, and substitute the fish sauce with soy sauce, liquid aminos, or coconut aminos.

I want more sauce!

You can add more coconut milk, or a mixture of chicken broth and coconut milk.

I'm afraid it might be too spicy!

Cut the curry powder down to 2 tbsp instead of 3, and substitute the red jalapeno peppers with red bell peppers.

I want it spicier!

Add chilly powder to the curry powder in the beginning. If it's too late, add some freshly chopped bird chillies in the curry instead.

Enjoy! Do you like this recipe plugin? Please let me know in the comments below!


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1 comment

Jacquie June 13, 2021 - 2:37 am

Hi Jackie

I’ve cooked this gorgeous dish twice, once with turkey breast and the second time with chicken

I made the spice powder too

Really delicious and very moorish

Best wishes


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