This month Food of the World is traveling to Indonesia. I made Indonesian crushed chicken with sambal or Ayam Penyet. Fried chicken is one of the popular meats in Indonesia and it is available in all roadside stalls and restaurants. Each region of Indonesia has its variation to fried chicken. This fried chicken is crushed with sambal. Chicken is first cooked with herbs and spices and then deep fried. It is then served with sambal. Sambal is a spicy sauce prepared with chilies. Again, there are many versions of sambal and this one is prepared by grinding together shallots, shrimp paste, garlic, bird’s eye chilies and cooking it in oil.
I am not a big fan of shrimp paste and in the past I did not like the food I cooked with the shrimp paste. This sambal has shrimp paste and I was skeptical to use it. To my surprise, I really liked the flavor of sambal. I could still smell the shrimp paste but we both liked the flavor of the paste in sambal.
Coming to the chicken, chicken is cooked with kaffir lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass. I was skeptical about this chicken as well and was tempted to add some chilies when cooking it. I am glad I did not add any as the chicken was very flavorful. I was surprised how flavorful the chicken was, despite not adding any chilies for heat. I made the chicken twice. First time I wanted to serve it with Nasi Goreng, Indonesian fried rice but changed my mind. I served it with Chinese fried rice. Second time I made it, I served it with some white rice.
Total Time: 35 – 40 minutes (excludes time to cool chicken)
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 - 30 minutes
- ½ Whole Chicken (approx. 600 grams / 1.3 lbs.), cut into desired size (I cut mine into 7 pieces. Check note below)
- 1 Salam Leaves / Indonesian Bay Leaves (I used 2 regular bay leaves)
- 1 – 1 ½ Lemongrass, take the white part and crush (I used the soft part, check note below)
- 1 cm or ⅓” thick Galangal (about 1tbsp. when chopped)
- 3 Kaffir Lime Leaves, remove the center vein
- ¾ - 1 cup Water (recipe says ½ liter but the chicken in the US cooks very fast and used less water)
- 1 – 1 ¼ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- ½ tsp. Sugar (I left it out)
- Oil for Deep Frying
- 6 Shallots (I used ½ cup chopped yellow onion)
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves
- 2 Candlenuts, dry roasted (I used 1 ½ - 2 tsp. blanched & sliced almonds)
- 1 cm Turmeric, roasted (I used turmeric powder instead)
- ½ tsp. Coriander Seeds (I used ¾ - 1 tsp. coriander powder)
- 10 Bird’s Eye Chilies (can also use 9 – 10 small Green Indian Chilies)
- 3 Red Chilies (I used dry red chilies)
- 2 Shallots (I used about ⅓ cup chopped yellow onion)
- 5 Cloves of Garlic
- ½ tsp. Shrimp Paste
- 2 tbsp. Oil
- Pinch of Salt (this is optional, recommend it to reduce the spice heat)
- Chicken: Grind together all the ingredients listed under paste. To this also added lemongrass and galangal when making the paste, though these two ingredients can be crushed.
- In a pot put all the ingredients listed under chicken and the paste. Cover and bring it to a boil stirring the chicken often for even cooking.
- Once it comes to a boil, cook for another 2-4 minutes until the chicken is almost tender. Reduce the heat to medium – medium low and continue to cook until the chicken is completely cooked. This should take another 8 – 10 minutes. The chicken was actually cooked in about 5 minutes but I let it cook a little longer to let the flavors of the spices infuse into chicken.
- If there are any juices, remove the chicken from it and keep it aside. OR you can uncover the pan and cook the chicken until all the juices are evaporated. Let the chicken cool completely.
- Heat oil in a skillet and deep fry the chicken until golden brown.
- Remove from oil and place the chicken pieces on paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Sambal: Grind all the ingredients except oil to a fine paste. Mortar pestle is preferred but I used my grinder.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and cook the ground sambal for about 5 minutes stirring it.
- Serving Chicken - Transfer sambal onto a mortar, place fried chicken and crush it using a pestle. I do not have a wide mortar & pestle and instead rubbed sambal onto the fried chicken.
- Serve fried chicken with salad or steaming rice. I served mine with fried rice and stock/juices/gravy from cooked chicken.
- Chicken - usually buy 3.2 – 3.5lb whole chicken and use half of it. The recipe called for cutting the chicken into large pieces but I cut the chicken into 7 pieces; 1 drumstick, thigh into 2 pieces and the breast into 4 pieces. Again, I used ½ of whole chicken.
- Cooking Chicken – Chicken in the US cooks very fast and there was some excess stock after cooking the chicken. I did not want to cook until the stock evaporated as I did want the chicken to dry out.
- Lemongrass – I removed the outer layer of the lemongrass. I pretty much removed all the white part and used just the tender part. I do not know if I that is how it is supposed to use but I ended up using the thin soft part of the lemongrass which was about ¾ tsp.
This day in 2013: Homemade Pizza with Coriander Chutney
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