Manado is definitely home of spicy dishes, ranging from rica-rica, dabu-dabu, tinoransak, to woku. What I love about Manado dishes is that the spiciness is always balanced with freshness, be it from the use of lime leaves, lemongrass, tomato, or in the case of a woku, lemon basil (Indonesian: daun kemangi). Note that lemon basil is different from the regular (Italian) basil. You are most likely to find this herb sold by Thai or Vietnamese grocers. If you have tried Vietnamese pho before, you have most likely seen and tried a lemon basil. ♥
Ayam Woku Manado - Manado Spicy Basil Chicken
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 5 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
- 2 pandan leaves (Indonesian: daun pandan), knotted
- 2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised and knotted
- 1 chicken (about 1 kilogram), cut into 12 pieces
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 750 ml water
- 1 tomato, cut into small pieces
- 2 scallions (Indonesian: daun bawang), thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup lemon basil leaves (Indonesian: daun kemangi), reserve 8 to 10 leaves as garnish
- Grind the following into spice paste
- 10 shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah)
- 3 red anaheim chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah besar)
- 4 red cayenne chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah keriting)
- 2 to 5 red bird eye chilies (Indonesian: cabe rawit merah)
- 8 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
- 2 inch turmeric (Indonesian: kunyit)
- 2 inch ginger (Indonesian: jahe)
- Heat oil in a pot and sauté spice paste, kaffir lime leaves, pandan leaves, and lemongrass until fragrant. About 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add chicken and cook until no longer pink.
- Add salt, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, and continue cooking until the chicken are fully cooked. Adjust salt and sugar as needed.
- Add tomato, sliced scallions, and lemon basil leaves. Stir and cook until lemon basil leaves are wilted. Turn off heat, transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with the reserved leaves.