Bali, the land of a thousand temples, is indisputably the most famous island in Indonesia. The beauty of this place is just amazing, from wide expanse of sandy beaches, to the many Hindu temples, and the hilly rice terraces. Of course, many people come for the visual treats, but if you have the chance to visit Bali, don’t skip on the amazing Balinese cuisine. Somehow the memory of all the tasty food stick with me more than everything else 🙂
Among the many wonderful Balinese dishes, sambal matah is one of the most famous, and this is the one Balinese dish that is more easily obtained in Indonesia outside Bali. Though sambal is usually translated as chili sauce, sambal matah is so unlike the idea of chili sauce that I think it seems a bit wrong to call it one and is more appropriately translated as a salsa. Making the salsa is exceedingly simple, just gather all the ingredients, do some chopping and tossing and mixing everything into a nice lovely mess. In fact, you are welcome to buy a ready made roast chicken from your nearest grocery and use that instead of making your own pan fried chicken. ♥
I usually make my own pan fried chicken with a pair of skinless boneless chicken breast. I don’t know about you, but I find that chicken breasts are getting bigger and bigger over the years. I find that it is best if I butterfly my pair of chicken breasts into 4 pieces so when the outside develops a nice golden brown crust, the inside is cooked just right. If I don’t cut them into two, either the outside is too burnt, or the inside is not fully cooked, not good either way. So nowadays, I always butterfly (i.e. cut them in two pieces thick wise) my chicken breasts. If you are in the United States, it is probably best if you butterfly them. If you are in Indonesia where the chicken size is generally smaller, you can probably get away without butterfly them, but you may need to use 1 1/2 pair of chicken breast.
Once your chicken breasts are cooked, let them rest for 10 minutes. Then, cut them into thin strips and toss with the rest of the ingredients. You can always add more salt, chili, lime juice, etc to suit your preference.
- a pair of boneless skinless chicken breast
- all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 2 lemongrass, peeled to get only the tender white part, thinly sliced
- 15 shallots, peeled and washed with drinking water, thinly sliced
- 1 red anaheim pepper (Indonesian: cabe merah besar), or 5 Thai chilies (Indonesian: cabe rawit) if you can stand the spiciness, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, or substitute with olive oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted shrimp paste (Indonesian: terasi), or substitute with fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 lime
- Pat dry chicken breast, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and dust with all purpose flour.
- Heat oil in a frying pan and fry each side for roughly 4 minutes until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side until the chicken is fully cooked, another 4 minutes.
- Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
- When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred to small pieces and place in a mixing bowl.
- Add lemongrass, shallot, anaheim pepper/Thai chilies, and coconut oil/olive oil into the bowl. Mix well.
- Add toasted shrimp paste/fish sauce, mix well. Do a quick taste test, add salt only if necessary.
- Squeeze the lime, mix well, and serve immediately with steamed white rice.