Balinese Chicken (Ayam Pelalah)
Balinese Chicken (Ayam Pelalah) recipe – This chicken is an everyday dish as well as a ceremonial staple. Balinese food is spicy and calls for numerous spices in the preparation process, but it’s well worth it!
400g chicken breast
2 salam leaves (Indonesian bay leaves)
3 kaffir lime leaves (daun jeruk)
2 stalks lemongrass , bruised and tie into a knot
Juice from 3 limes (limau), optional
10 red chilies, deseeded and sliced
6 bird eye chilies, sliced
10 shallots, sliced
5 garlic, chopped
3cm fresh turmeric root, sliced
½ teaspoon toasted shrimp paste (terasi/belachan)
1 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
Oil, for frying
Salt and sugar to taste
Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, combine chilies, shallots, garlic and turmeric, grind to a smooth paste. If you using a blender, make sure to add a little bit of water or cooking oil to blend the ingredients.
Heat 5 tablespoons of the cooking oil in a wok, add in the spice paste, lemongrass, bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves, stir-fry until fragrant. Season with salt and sugar to taste. Add in another tablespoon of cooking oil if you want. Remove from the heat and transfer into a bowl, set aside.
Back to the chicken in the oven. When it’s done roasting, remove from the oven and let cool. Discard the skin and deboned, shred the meat into medium-thick strips. Take a spoonful of the spice paste, combine with the chicken meat with the spice paste, toss well until the chicken until the chicken is perfectly coated with the spice paste. Add another spoon of the spice paste if not well coated. Serve the remaining spice paste as a side or as sambal.
Meanwhile, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, place half of the chicken and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, repeat the same for the remaining chicken. (I did this step because I found that the shredded chicken meat was a bit wet after being mixed with the spice paste so by doing the quick stir-fry, the texture is what I wanted, a slightly dried up shredded chicken that I love. If you use charcoal to grill the chicken, coal-grill, other than oven grill/roasting, I don’t think of this step is required.)
Transfer the chicken onto a a serving plate and squeeze the juice of the lime before serving.
As you might have guessed, my favorite region in the whole world is Asia. And of all Asia, my favorite island is Penang, my hometown, and my second favorite is Bali, Indonesia. I love Bali—its lush green fields, Hindu temples, rolling highlands, sandy beaches, rich culture, and friendly people. I’ve been there a few times and wish to learn more about its cuisine. I’m so happy to come across Cooking Tackle, an Indonesian food blog by Ira, based in Bali. Cooking Tackle is a visual eye candy. I absolutely love the exotic recipes and mouthwatering food photography. The blog is simply delicious! Please welcome Cooking Tackle and Ira to Rasa Malaysia, with a traditional Balinese chicken, or ayam pelalah recipe.
Although the sky for the most part is grey here in Bali recently, it doesn’t mean that I’m lack of motivation. In fact, cooking has always been an enjoyable experience, so you could imagine how excited I was when I received an email from Bee, inviting me to be a guest writer on Rasa Malaysia.
We discussed the recipe via email and I proposed a Balinese recipe to showcase Balinese cuisine to Rasa Malaysia readers. I was very happy that both Bee and I liked the idea. To be honest, I take this guest post as the perfect opportunity to share my passion for Balinese cooking with the many readers on Rasa Malaysia, especially to those who are not familiar with Bali and its interesting cuisine. I’d like to thank Bee for the honor to be here. I feel privileged to be able to share my humble recipe here.
Let me introduce myself: My name is Ira, an Indonesian woman who lives in the island of the God, the island of a thousand temples—Bali. Bali is genuinely beautiful; it’s a magical island to many people who have visited it. Bali is the island chosen by God, by its people…it’s exotic and heavenly!
I’m sharing a recipe of Balinese food today. Balinese chicken or ayam pelalah is a traditional and authentic Balinese dish, an everyday dish as well as a ceremonial staple. It’s basically shredded chicken. The chicken is first grilled and then tossed with many aromatic Balinese spices. It’s one of the most scrumptious Balinese recipes and it’s iconic to Bali. Ayam pelalah is commonly served as a side dish or as a compliment for nasi campur Bali or Balinese mixed rice.
The general assumption is that Balinese cooking is tedious and takes a long time to prepare. However, I believe that if you’re passionate about learning Balinese cuisine and have patience, you’ll never be hindered by this presumption. I personally think differently as cooking traditional Balinese food is like a sacred offering to the God—it’s the belief of Balinese Hinduism. However, I must warn you that Balinese food is spicy and calls for numerous spices in the preparation process, so it’s true that cooking Balinese food is a tedious process.
I learned about Balinese food when I attended a Balinese cooking class last year. I also own a couple Balinese cookery books. After the cooking class, I couldn’t wait to go home and started cooking Balinese food for my family. I was so excited to be able to make authentic Balinese dishes; it was a fun and wonderful experience. I was very lucky as I learned authentic Balinese cooking from a native. Nothing beats learning from native home cooks; they are the most humble, kind, and sincere people I’ve ever known. Since then, I’ve been cooking and experimenting authentic Balinese cooking at home.