Rica-rica is a famous spicy sauce used widely in Manado cuisine from the province of North Sulawesi in Indonesia. The first time I tried this sauce in a Manado restaurant, my tongue gone numb and my eyes couldn’t stop tearing. I even ended up with a stomach upset from all the chilies. But don’t worry. This recipe for ayam goreng rica-rica – tomato & chili fried chicken is a tone down version from the original. Trust me, you need to build up your body tolerance before trying an authentic rica-rica!
The most obvious thing that will jump up when you encounter a true rica-rica dish is the absurdly insane amount of Thai bird eye chilies that greet your eyes. A super authentic recipe commonly calls for something in the order of 20-30 chilies! I’m going to chicken out and use only 2 in this recipe. To make up for the lack of red color from using only 2 chilies, I am compensating with 3 tomatoes, otherwise the color will be super off. You will also need shallot, garlic, scallions, salt, and sugar. If you wish, you can also add a lemongrass and a couple of kaffir lime leaves, but the dish is more than acceptable even without these two ingredients.
Fried chicken, two versions
This is at least my 10th post using the same fried chicken recipe. If you follow my recipes, you probably have memorized it by heart 🙂 As always, I prefer deep frying the chicken strips. But if you really must use oven, please refer to my orange hoisin chicken stir fry recipe to oven “fry” chicken strips.
- 600 gram boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into strips
- 4 cloves garlic, bruised
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 100 gram all purpose flour
- ½ tablespoon tapioca starch (or corn starch)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper (or ground black pepper)
- enough oil for deep frying
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 50 gram shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lemongrass, bruised and knotted (optional)
- 2 Thai red bird eye chilies, seeded and sliced (*)
- 3 tomatoes, cubed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
- Mix together chicken with bruised garlic, lime juice, and salt. Then let rest for 15 minutes.
- Whisk together all purpose flour, tapioca starch, and salt. Toss the chicken into flour mixture to fully coat. There shouldn't be any standing liquid at all at this point.
- Heat enough oil in a wok/pot for deep frying. Once the oil is hot enough (it should looks shimmering and runnier), add the coated chicken pieces, in batches if needed, and fry until golden brown. Set aside over a wire rack while we prepare the sauce.
- Heat oil over medium high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Sauté shallot, garlic, lemongrass (if using), and chilies until fragrant. About 3 minutes.
- Add tomato cubes, season with salt and sugar. Stir until tomato starts to wilt.
- Return fried chicken strips along with scallion and kaffir lime leaves (if using) to wok/frying pan. Gently toss until coated evenly.
- Turn off heat, transfer to a serving plate, and serve immediately with steamed white rice.