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!
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.
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.
Happy eating and bonding 🙂