Seafood Masak Lemak Cili Padi Recipe

Recently, I received a “thank you” comment on one of the recipes I shared. That reminded me I still had a packet of the rempah in the freezer. Since I also had some frozen prawns and mussels, I decided to do a variation of the dish Ayam Masak Lemak Cili Padi and replaced the chicken with seafood.

I did not have exact measure for this recipe as most of the time I cook by approximation (you will get the hang of it if you cook Asian dishes long enough, hahaha…) but just follow the recipe below and tweak the gravy consistency by adding water and/or coconut milk according to your desire. The amount if seafood is also according to the number of pax you are cooking for. Any leftover gravy can be stored in the fridge and reheated within the next few days and add more seafood or chicken bits to it.

Seafood Masak Lemak Cili Padi

Rummaging through my store, I had frozen prawns and mussels, Kara brand coconut cream as well as frozen rempah (in bowl).

Seafood Masak Lemak Cili Padi

I defrosted the rempah and then heat it in a pot over medium heat.
When the rempah came to a simmering boil, I added Kara coconut cream to the consistency I like.
I did not add any water in this preparation as my daughter preferred thick gravy to go with her rice.

Seafood Masak Lemak Cili Padi

Once the gravy mixture is heated through, add defrosted seafood and salt according to taste.

Seafood Masak Lemak Cili Padi

Serve over a plate of steamed Jasmine rice.

This is a very versatile rempah! You can add some pounded dried shrimps (haebee) and add lots of water and some coconut cream to make a soupy vegetable dish called Sayur Lodeh. You may also add hardboiled quail eggs and fried taukwa pieces to the seafood dish below.

Ayam Seafood 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 (I substituted chicken with ***seafood, see comment below):
1 Kg Chicken, cut into 8 – 12 parts (I prefer cooking with skin on as you can remove it during eating). I used seafood on this occasion.
1 teaspoon Salt (to marinate chicken). I did not add salt to the seafood.
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 cooking, eating and bonding! 😀

Click here to see original Ayam Masak Lemak Cili Padi.

2 Responses to “Seafood Masak Lemak Cili Padi Recipe”
  1. Looks like a lot of work, and sadly
    I doubt if I could find a restaurant
    that would follow such a recipe here in the States.
    Glad I have a good imagination,
    I’ll just imagine how great it taste … or is it an acquired taste.

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