Ayam Masak Lemak Cili Padi Recipe

Ross, May and I went to Bukit Batok for lunch yesterday. We had Malay cuisine called Nasi Padang and ordered several dishes for our communal dining. Eating the tasty Ayam Masak Lemak Cili Padi which roughly translates to “chicken cooked with bird’s eye chillies in rich gravy”, triggred me to post this recipe. If you like super spicy food, this is for you!

Padang is a place in Indonesia which started this cuisine Nasi Padang (Rice from Padang). The Malay version of Nasi Padang in Singapore is quite similar but is not exactly the same as that of Indonesia.

Padang is a place in Indonesia which started this cuisine Nasi Padang (Rice from Padang).
The Malay version of Nasi Padang in Singapore is quite similar but is not exactly the same as that of Indonesia.

Stir-fried Bittergourd with scrambled Eggs.

Stir-fried Bittergourd with scrambled Eggs.

Assam Pedas is usually a Fish dish although seafood can be employed. Assam is tamarind and Pedas means spicy hot.

Assam Pedas is usually a Fish dish although seafood can be employed.
Assam is tamarind and Pedas means spicy hot.

Mutton Rendang. Rendang is a slowed cooked dry curry dish. Usually, beef, mutton and chicken are used as meat allows for slow-cooking. However, fried fish steaks can also be cooked rendang style. Slow cooking allows for deeper and more aromatic infusion of the spices.

Mutton Rendang.
Rendang is a slowed cooked dry curry dish.
Usually, beef, mutton and chicken are used as meat allows for slow-cooking. However, fried fish steaks can also be cooked rendang style. Slow cooking allows for deeper and more aromatic infusion of the spices.

Ayam Masak Lemak Chilli Padi.

Ayam Masak Lemak Chilli Padi.

Ayam Masak Lemak Cili Padi Recipe:

Rempah (raw ground spice ingredients):
15 Chilli Padi (deseeded if prefer less heat).
5 fresh Red Chillies (deseeded if prefer less heat).
1 thumb length fresh Ginger Root, peel off the skin.
1 thumb length fresh Kunyit (Tumeric – Yellow Ginger Root), peel off the skin.
1 thumb length fresh Lengkuas (Blue Ginger Root), peel off the skin.
1 Spanish Onion (Red), remove skin.
10 Shallots (small onions), remove skin (if you can’t find shallots, use 3 big onions altogether, to substitute).
3 cloves Garlic, remove skin.

Grind all the ingredients above till fine in an electric blender and set aside. This is your rempah. Be careful when dealing with yellow ginger as they stain easily and is almost impossible to get rid of stain.

Ingredients (you can substitute chicken with ***seafood mentioned below):
1 Kg Chicken, cut into 8 – 12 parts (I prefer cooking with skin on as you can remove it during eating).
1 teaspoon Salt (to marinate chicken).
1 piece fresh Tumeric Leaf (Tumeric is fresh yellow ginger root – Kunyit in Malay).
1 stalk fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves (those used in Tomyum soup).
2 stalks Serai (Lemongrass – use the pale bottom part only, bash them lightly to release essential oils).
Salt, Sugar and White Pepper Powder, to taste (final seasoning).
3-5 tablespoons Vegetable Oil, and some more if necessary.
1 package of 500ml Kara Coconut Milk OR
250ml fresh Coconut *1st Milk.
500ml fresh Coconut **2nd Milk.

If using freshly grated Coconut (NOT desiccated coconut used for baking as those are sweetened and can hardly extract any milk):
*Put grated coconut into a muslin cloth and squeeze for coconut milk without adding water. This is the 1st milk. Put this milk into a bowl and set aside.

** Pour 400ml water into the coconut shavings (from 1st milk) and squeeze again for 500ml to obtain 2nd milk. Set aside in a separate bowl.

I prefer using fresh coconut as the flavour is impeccable but it is not always available in other countries.

Method:
1. Clean the chopped chicken parts and drain away excess water. Marinate the chicken pieces with salt and set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Heat oil in wok or heavy saucepan over medium heat. DO NOT use high heat or rempah may burnt.

3. Stir in the ground ingredients with bruised lemongrass.

4. When rempah has absorbed all the oil, add the chicken pieces and continue to stir-fry over medium heat till chicken turned opaque and rempah is fully cooked. If the rempah is too dry and sticks to wok/pan, add a little bit more oil.

5. Rempah is fully cooked when its colour deepens and oil is released back out. You may start sneezing with the overwhelming spicy aroma in the air.

6. After you have recomposed yourself, tear tumeric leaf and kaffir lime leaves, and add 2nd milk into the wok/pot, stir well and bring to a simmering boil.

*** For seafood like firm fish, mussels, prawns or squid (or a mixture of them), add at this point instead of step 4 (for chicken) and simmer until the gravy thickens. It is better to simmer down the gravy first as seafood requires shorter cooking time. Remember to stir occasionally during cooking.

7. Gently pour in the 1st milk and continue to simmer till gravy reaches a thick consistency as seen in photo, about 20-30 minutes for chicken and way lesser time for seafood (10-15 minutes).

8. Add sugar, salt and pepper according to your taste. You may omit sugar if you don’t like it. Always adjust final seasoning when dish is done as reduced liquid level may increase saltiness that’s already in marinated foods. Stir well and turn off the fire.

9. Serve with steamed or compressed rice (lontong). You may prefer baguette or ciabatta to mop up the gravy.

Enjoy!

Nasi Padang dishes served with rice.

Nasi Padang dishes served with rice.
Our meal cost S$17 for the 4 dishes and 3 plates of rice.

Happy eating and bonding 🙂

Click here to see the seafood variation using the same rempah.

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Comments
8 Responses to “Ayam Masak Lemak Cili Padi Recipe”
  1. renxkyoko says:

    Sam, Mom always cooks the bittermelon with egg. there’s also either pork or shrimps in it too. My parents like the dish, but my siblings and i don’t really like it. Mom tries to take out the bitterness by slicing the bittermelon, then putting it in salted water, then , squeezing the veggie. It takes out the bitterness.

    • Sam Han says:

      Rubbing salt does help but I like the bitterness. Anyway, the breed we get here are less bitter these days so I do not do that anymore. And yes, I like them with prawns and a bit more gravy 😀

  2. laurasmess says:

    Yum, this looks amazing Sam!! I am a huge fan of curries of all kinds and I love the idea of this beautiful chicken dish. I am definitely going to give it a go x

  3. Denis Otieno Odhiambo says:

    i really admire this recipe . just tried it and it was delicious with good aroma .@

  4. feeda says:

    1 word.AWESOME!!!i tried it just now for e first time of my life.(well i nvr try cooking on my own actually cuz end up my mum came n help me instead) but this i really tried doing on my own without any supervision.The level of spicyness is to my liking cuz i love spicy food.😍😍😍 and e recipe is easy to follow for beginners like me.thnks for sharing!!!!!

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