Ayam Bakar Rujak (Sweet & Spicy Grilled Chicken)
- 2 to 3 lbs chicken pieces
- 3 red chiles, split
- 1 large shallot, quartered
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 3 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 1” pieces
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1.5 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- Water, to help purée paste
To make sauce:
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or canola oil
- 5 to 6 lime leaves
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
Prepared by Kimi Abdullah, co-Founder of Petojo Food & Catering Follow on her on Instagram @kimiabdullah & Tumblr @kimieats Find Petojo Food & Catering on Instagram and Facebook @petojofood For catering inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519 488 0316
To me, this is Indonesian BBQ. It’s a luscious mix of sweet coconut and spicy chiles with touch of tangy tamarind. It’s both comforting and exotic, which is quintessentially Indonesian to me. Best served with a fluffy mountain of rice and a crunchy sour acar.
- In a food processor, purée red chiles, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, cashews, brown sugar, tomato paste, coriander and salt. Add water as needed to loosen the mix to achieve a smooth mixture.
- In a large heavy bottom pot with cover, heat oil over medium heat. Add spice paste and lime leaves. Sauté until soft and fragrant. The will take about 5 to 10 minutes. If the paste starts to burn or brown, reduce your heat or add a touch of water. Add fish sauce as you stir your soften spice paste and let cook for another 3 to 5 mins or until the liquid has cooked off.
- Add coconut milk, water, tamarind paste, white sugar and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and let cook for 10 minutes. Add chicken pieces, covering each piece with the sauce, cover with lid and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn pieces about half way through cooking time. Remove pieces of chicken from pot and set aside.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over a medium pot, strain sauce into medium sauce. This will remove all the tough bits and pieces and leave you with a silky sauce. Place medium pot over medium heat and let the sauce simmer and reduce until thick, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Grill chicken to finish cooking, either on a BBQ or grill pan, until you have nice charred marks. Brush with sauce to help build flavour and create a nice sticky, saucy finish on your chicken. Remove to serving platter and pour remaining sauce over the chicken.
- My recommendation would be to brine your chicken pieces to ensure a tender and succulent finish. I have found the most success with soaking chicken pieces in the fridge for 1 to 1.5 hours per pound in a 3% brine. My 3% brine solution is 15g white sugar and 45g salt dissolved in 2 litres of cold water. This also works for turkey and pork.
- The heat level of the dish depends on your chile so it’s a bit of a gamble, but that’s the fun right? Moderate the intensity of the spice by removing the seeds of some or all of the chiles. If you want a totally mild sauce (aka no surprises), replace the red chiles with red pepper.
- Traditionally, Indonesians use candlenut for this spice paste, but they can be tricky to find here. I substituted with raw cashews because that is what I had on hand and I thought their richness would complement the coconut milk, and delightfully, I was right. If you don’t have cashews, leave them out, it’s okay for your rujak sauce to be 5% less rich tasting.