Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry (Ayam Paprik)
My college years in Kuala Lumpur (commonly known as “KL”), right after my high school and A-levels in Penang were one of the best times of my life. It was during those years in KL that I met Mr. Rasa Malaysia, and formed precious and lasting friendships with some of my best friends. Lots of beautiful memories, laughter, admirers (yep, I had lots of admirers in the college back then), and scrumptious foods.
At least once a week, after the tedious and boring lectures at the college, Mr. Rasa Malaysia and our best friends would descend to the Malay warung (Malay food stall) right outside of our college. We would always order our favorite ayam paprik—a mouthwatering spicy chicken stir-fry, tom yum, and telur dadar (omelet), to go with the warm and fluffy steamed rice. It was then that I fell in love with Malay cooking, or in this case, Thai-style Malay food.
There are many Malay warung dotting the streets of Malaysia—a simple set up with gas stoves, fresh ingredients, and 2-3 people manning the stall. These Malay warung make everything fresh, or on orders placed by patrons. The menu ranges from nasi goreng (fried rice), tom yum (Thai hot and sour shrimp soup), to various rice plates. One of the most popular rice plates is probably nasi paprik, a rice plate with a serving of ayam paprik or spicy chicken stir-fry. The dishes served at these Malay warung are not “pure” Malay food, but Thai-influenced Malay food. Many of the cooks learned their recipes from northern Malaysia, close to the borders of southern Thailand.
Here is my ayam paprik recipe. The word paprik is derived from Thai words “Pad Prik.” I asked my friend She Simmers who is a Thai linguist/food blogger and she told me that “pad” means “fry” and “prik” means “chili.” So this is my spicy chicken stir-fry recipe, or ayam paprik, a very popular and well-loved dish in Malaysia. Enjoy!
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