Chicken Sambal – A small batch

March 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

As defined by Wikipedia
is a chili based sauce which is normally used as a condiment. Sambals are popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines and Sri Lanka, as well as in the Netherlands and in Suriname through Indonesian influence. It is typically made from a variety of peppers, although chili peppers are the most common. It is sometimes a substitute for fresh chilies. It can be extremely spicy for the uninitiated. Some ready-made sambals are available at exotic food markets or gourmet departments in supermarkets in many countries.

After my friend Karen expressed her dissatisfaction over her results in making Shrimp Sambal, I took it as a challenge to create a Western-style, home cook friendly recipe for this exotic dish. I decided to make a chicken version, since that’s what I had in the freezer. Though the result was flavorful, I now understand Karen’s complaints. Something was definitely missing and this recipe will most certainly be altered and updated the next time I attempt it. I’m thinking it’s the prepared Sambal paste that is falling short.

1 chicken breast, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 small onion, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon Sambal paste (more or less depending on your taste for spicy)
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp*
2 lime leaves, julienned*
1/2 stalk lemon grass; bruised and sliced in half
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
oil for sautéing

* Substitution options for hard to find ingredients: two prunes with 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice, pureed for tamarind paste; lime zest for lime leaves.

Heat oil in pan
sauté onions until translucent
add the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass; sauté briefly
add sugar and spices and sauté until fragrant
add the chicken slices and sauté 4-5 minutes
add Sambal and tamarind pulp
continue to sauté for a few minutes ensuring all ingredients are mixed well
add tomato and combine well
mix well and simmer until chicken is done
don’t forget to remove the lemon grass before serving


Entry filed under: For One or Two, General Asian, Main Course, Popular Ethnic Dishes. Tags: , .

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