Spicy chicken with belimbing asam
It is best that you try growing your own belimbing asam if you're a fan of the sour fruit.
It is not easily found in neighbourhood markets.
But if you must buy it, Geylang Serai Market is your best bet.
The fruit has a refreshing tang.
The ones I used in this recipe were home-grown, as were the turmeric leaf, pandan leaves and kaffir lime leaves.
I find it useful to have these ingredients on hand. Turmeric leaf lends a beautiful fragrance to curries and other spicy dishes.
In a bid to cut calories, I skipped the coconut milk but the gravy was still relatively thick.
What I like about this dish is the sour edge, which makes it appetising and prevents that cloying feeling from setting in.
- 1 whole chicken, skinned, cut into large pieces
- 50g belimbing asam, halved lengthwise
- 1 red onion, sectioned
- 1 turmeric leaf, torn
- 2 pandan leaves, knotted
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
- 1 star anise
- 3 cloves
- 1 tbsp of asam jawa (tamarind pulp) mixed with 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 750ml water
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 10 red finger chillies
- 5 chilli padi
- 120g shallots
- 3 garlic cloves
- 20 fresh turmeric, sliced
- 10g galangal
- 2 lemongrass stalks, use only 5cm of the white root part, sliced
- 1 tbsp belacan powder
1. Grind rempah ingredients, starting with the hard ones like galangal, turmeric and lemongrass. Add a little water and blend into a smooth paste.
2. Heat oil in a wok, fry the rempah over medium-low heat for 5min. Add star anise and cloves.
3. Keep frying the rempah over low heat until paste thickens and oil is visible on the surface. This should take another 10min to 15min. (picture above)
4. Add the sugar. Stir to dissolve it. Add the chicken.
5. Fry until chicken starts turning opaque. Add the red onion.
6. Add the water, turmeric leaf, kaffir lime leaves and pandan leaves. (picture above)
7. Once the liquid begins to boil, cook for 10 minutes.
8. Strain the tamarind pulp, discard seeds.
9. Add the tamarind juice to the chicken.
10. Cook for another 20min or until chicken is tender.
11. Add salt.
12. Add the belimbing asam two minutes before the chicken in done. (picture above)