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Ayam Sambal Goreng Sereh - Chicken in Spicy Lemongrass Sauce

This chicken in spicy lemongrass sauce tastes so good it will knock your socks off. If you are not ready to commit to a rendang dish, this will be a gentler introduction.
Ayam Sambal Goreng Sereh - Chicken in Spicy Lemongrass Sauce.

Ayam Sambal Goreng Sereh - Chicken in Spicy Lemongrass Sauce.

Eating rice for breakfast might be an alien concept for non-Asian, but this is not a strange concept for most Indonesians.

Whenever my Mom prepares rice for breakfast, it usually means nasi uduk with multiple dishes. One of the dishes are usually meat, such as fried chicken, beef rendang/chicken rendang, or occasionally, ayam sambal goreng sereh.

Today I will share my recipe for ayam sambal goreng sereh (chicken in spicy lemongrass sauce). The list of spices for this dish is much shorter compared to a rendang, but it still packs a punch and just as satisfying. Of course, you can serve this for lunch or dinner if having a heavy rice meal for breakfast is not for you. 😁

Ingredients for ayam sambal goreng sereh (chicken in spicy lemongrass sauce): chicken thighs and drumsticks, coconut milk, salt, coconut palm sugar, turmeric, tamarind, garlic, shallot, galangal, red chilies, and lemongrass.

Ingredients for ayam sambal goreng sereh (chicken in spicy lemongrass sauce): chicken thighs and drumsticks, coconut milk, salt, coconut palm sugar, turmeric, tamarind, garlic, shallot, galangal, red chilies, and lemongrass.

Ingredients for ayam sambal goreng sereh

1. Bone-in chicken with skin

First, we will need some bone-in chicken with skin. You can buy a whole chicken and cut it up into 8-12 pieces, or you can use about 4-5 chicken leg quarters and separate them into thighs and drumsticks.

2. Spices and seasonings

We will need salt, coconut palm sugar, turmeric, tamarind, coconut milk, garlic, shallot, galangal, red chilies, and lemongrass.

(1) Fry chicken until the skin is golden brown and crispy, set aside. (2) Grind garlic, shallot, red chilies, galangal, and the white part of lemongrass. (3) Sauté spice paste and the green part of lemongrass until fragrant. (4) Return fried chicken to the pot alongside salt, coconut palm sugar, and coconut milk.

(1) Fry chicken until the skin is golden brown and crispy, set aside. (2) Grind garlic, shallot, red chilies, galangal, and the white part of lemongrass. (3) Sauté spice paste and the green part of lemongrass until fragrant. (4) Return fried chicken to the pot alongside salt, coconut palm sugar, and coconut milk.

How to cook ayam sambal goreng sereh

1. Marinate chicken

Start with rubbing the chicken pieces with salt and turmeric. Set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Prepare spice paste

Grind garlic, shallot, galangal, red chilies, and the white part of lemongrass in a food processor or with a mortar and a pestle into a smooth paste.

3. Fry chicken

Heat about three tablespoons of oil in a wok over medium-high and fry the chicken until the skin is crispy and golden brown. It is okay for the chicken to be not 100% cooked. Set aside.

4. Sauté spice and lemongrass

In the same wok, fry the spice paste, turmeric, and the green part of lemongrass until fragrant. About 5 minutes.

5. Add chicken and the rest of the ingredients

Return fried chicken into the wok, along with coconut milk, tamarind liquid, salt, and coconut palm sugar. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is very thick and the chicken is tender and cooked.

The dish is done once the sauce has reduced.

The dish is done once the sauce has reduced.

Turn it into a complete Indonesian rice meal

As I mention earlier, we usually serve this as part of a nasi uduk ensemble. If you would like to follow suit, you can try preparing some of these dishes and serve them all together.

Ayam Sambal Goreng Sereh - Chicken in Spicy Lemongrass Sauce

Ayam Sambal Goreng Sereh - Chicken in Spicy Lemongrass Sauce

Ayam Sambal Goreng Sereh - Chicken in Spicy Lemongrass Sauce

5.0 from 9 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 8

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8-10 pieces of bone-in chicken (I use thighs and drumsticks)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), green part only
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (Indonesian: bubuk kunyit)
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • tamarind liquid (from 1/2 tablespoon tamarind + 4 tablespoon water), mix well and strained
  • 2 tablespoon coconut palm sugar, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 10-20 red cayenne chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah keriting)
  • 100 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), white part only
  • 2 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)

Instructions

  1. Marinate chicken: Start with rubbing the chicken pieces with salt and turmeric. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Prepare spice paste: Grind garlic, shallot, galangal, red chilies, and the white part of lemongrass in a food processor or with a mortar and a pestle into a smooth paste.
  3. Fry chicken: Heat about three tablespoons of oil in a wok over medium-high and fry the chicken until the skin is crispy and golden brown. It is okay for the chicken to be not 100% cooked. Set aside.
  4. Sauté spice paste and lemongrass: In the same wok, fry the spice paste, turmeric, and the green part of lemongrass until fragrant. About 5 minutes.
  5. Add chicken and the rest of the ingredients: Return fried chicken into the wok, along with coconut milk, tamarind liquid, salt, and coconut palm sugar. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is very thick and the chicken is tender and cooked.
  6. Serve: Turn off heat, and serve either with steamed white rice, or nasi uduk (fragrant coconut rice).
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • V Jameson V Jameson says:

    This dish looks unbelievably delicious. Can you please post a few more Indonesian recipe specifically the ones listed here: http://makan-luar.tumblr.com/post/120760058771/tantalize-your-taste-buds-with-indonesian-cuisine . And also the desserts as well. Plus can you tell me where to get ingredient number 5? ("2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised and knotted")

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Vanessa, I am going to keep the list in my to-do :) As for lemongrass, I am in the Bay Area, and they are sold fresh in Asian grocery stores like 99 Ranch or Marina. I think I have even spotted a Safeway or two that carry them.

      • Jane Jane says:

        Hi Ci Anita, thank you for posting alot of Indonesian recipes, I have tried your sop buntut recipe and it was perfect! I had recently moved to Bay Area and am wondering where do you usually get your cabe merah keriting as I have never seen one so far. I have only seen Thai chilli at Ranch or Marina.

        • Anita Anita says:

          For cabe merah keriting, I usually just sub with a mixture of Thai red chili and red fresno chili (50% 50%) and it usually works out perfectly.

  • Susan Parker Susan Parker says:

    I recently went to Bali and Gili Air. Everywhere we went we found Cop Chai soup - chicken with vegetables - on the menu. I ate it almost everyday, liking it better than Soto Ayam because of the vegetables. But now that I'm home, I can't find any recipes. Can you help me discover how to make this tasty soup, please? Thank you!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Susan, actually cap cai is a stir fry dish, though some people turn that into a stew/soup. I think this Balinese Garden Stew is what you are looking for. Cheers!

  • Susan Parker Susan Parker says:

    Spelled Cap Cai?

  • Melissa Melissa says:

    Hi Anita, I tried this on the weekend for friends and it went down a treat! My grandmother was Dutch Indonesian and no one managed to pick up her skills before she passed away. Since then, I have been trying to get my head around Indonesian cooking, and I am slowly building my success. I found your website when I searched for peanut sambal (which I also made), and am so excited to try so many new recipes! Thank you!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Melissa, I am very happy that my blog can help you rediscover Indonesian cooking. Have fun trying out different recipes :)

  • Joanna Joanna says:

    Sooo glad I came upon your site! I was looking for good sambal ulek and sambal terasi recipes and I shall try yours :-) Then of course I was tempted by the other recipes, like this lemon grass chicken one. Fab! What I like is that you include the Indonesian names for ingredients as well. Best wishes from a Philippine fan!

  • Liz Liz says:

    I have been seeking this recipe for YEARS. My favorite restaurant in Rhode Island makes this, but I've never been able to find anything remotely close to what they make. THANK YOU!!!

    • Anita Anita says:

      I am happy to help then :) I hope it is close to what you had in Rhode Island.

  • AD AD says:

    Hi Anita - I made this and it was simply gorgeous! I am in love with your recipes!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Why, thank you :)

  • Star Star says:

    I can only find Tamarind concentrate in a jar in the Indian section of my local market. How much should I use of that? Ingredients include tamarind, water, and citric acid. Would it be too sour?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Star, if you are using tamarind concentrate, I would combine 1/2 tablespoon tamarind concentrate + 3.5 tablespoon water to get 4 tablespoon of tamarind juice. It should work and shouldn't be too sour. :)

  • Ty Ty says:

    It doesn't says how much of water is required for this recipe? :)

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Ty, we don't use water for this recipe. The liquid from 1 can coconut milk and tamarind liquid (1/2 tablespoon tamarind + 4 tablespoon water) is usually enough. If for some reason the liquid has become dry before the chicken is cooked, then you can try adding 1/4 cup of water, but I don't think I've ever needed to do this.

  • Nathan Nathan says:

    Wow, this looks so vibrant and flavorful! I also love the little bit of educational info about Indonesian cuisine at the beginning, so cool to get a look into another culture!

  • Kelli Kelli says:

    This sounds so good and a great change from my usual chicken recipes! Where do you get your tamarind liquid from?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Kelli, I use wet seedless tamarind from Asian market. You can also get a tamarind packet from Amazon. Just scoop out about 1/2 tablespoon of the tamarind from the packet, and mix with 4 tablespoon of water. Mix and massage to release as much of the tamarind into the liquid, then strain and use.

  • Shadi Hasanzadenemati Shadi Hasanzadenemati says:

    Love all the flavors here, I already know I’m going to enjoy this recipe a lot!

  • Jeannette Jeannette says:

    What an incredibly MOUTHWATERING recipe this is! I love how it uses a DIY sambal for extra flavour. Absolutely divine, Anita!

  • Beth Beth says:

    Yummy! This looks so delicious! I can't wait to make this! So excited!

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