Chicken with sambal recipe

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This recipe comes Kalimantan, where it is usually made with free-range or kampung chickens. The sour tomatoes and lemon juice makes a delicious counterpoint to the sweet spiciness of the special sambal served.


  • 1 fresh free-range chicken (2¼ l bs/1 kg), cleaned and cut into serving pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • 2 cups (500 ml) water
  • 3-4 red finger-length chilies, deseeded and sliced
  • 8-10 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 unripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 sprig Asian basil
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 green onions (scallions), sliced
  • ½ in (1 cm) fresh ginger, sliced Fragrant Chili Sambal
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
  • 3-4 red finger-length chilies, deseeded
  • 5-6 shallots, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste (trasi), dry-roasted
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, tender inner part of bottom third only, bruised
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ in (1 cm) fresh galangal, peeled and sliced
  • 2 salam leaf
  • 2 tablespoons Tamarind Juice
How to Make It
  1. Season the chicken pieces with the salt and lime or lemon juice, then set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Make the Fragrant Chili Sambal by grinding the first 7 ingredients to a smooth paste in a mortar or blender, adding a little oil if necessary to keep the mixture turning. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat and stir-fry the ground paste with with salam leaf, lemongrass and galangal until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the Tamarind Juice and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Discard the salam leaf, lemongrass and galangal.
  3. Bring the water to a boil in a wok or large saucepan. Add the marinated chicken and simmer uncovered over medium heat until the chicken is just tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Add all the other ingredients, mix well and cook for 15 more minutes before removing from the heat. Serve immediately with a serving bowl of Fragrant Chili Sambal on the side or serve mixed with the Fragrant Chili Sambal.

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