I hated this when I first tried it in Malaysia because it was so spicy hot but as I slowly learned their cuisine I started to love it and crave for it, in fact my Mamak plate order is not complete without this and two pieces of roti canai. Many years later I totally forgot this dish until I saw this at one of our favourite Malaysian restaurants called Chef Rasa Sayang, after tasting our order it brought back my good food memories from Kuala Lumpur. They prepared it like how it was back in Malaysia very flavourful chicken meat, juicy inside with a distinctive glutinous crunch on the outside served with a really pungent, sweet spicy hot and tangy sauce perfect with a freshly steamed rice.
After that day I said I will make them at home so I am off to the Asian shop to find belachan which gives it the flavour and the pungent smell. After scouring all of the grocery items I found none so I will have to improvise to get the same taste without using any ready to made ingredients. Instead of belachan I used a mixture of bagoong a Filipino style fermented shrimp plus lots of dried small shrimps that I pulverized using a bean grinder. The result was surprising, I think I got the taste and essence of this dish and here I am sharing the improvised recipe below.
- 1 kg chicken thighs, cut into bite sized sections
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 egg whites
- 1½ cup tapioca flour
- 2 tbsp bagoong
- ⅓ cup dried shrimp, ground to a powder
- 6 pcs shallots
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 inch fresh ginger, sliced
- 6 pcs long red chilies
- 3 pcs bird eyes chilies
- 1 stalk lemongrass, white part
- 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
- 4 pcs tomatoes, cut in chunks
- 1 large onion, cut in chunks
- 3 tbsp tomato sauce
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Marinate chicken in salt, pepper and egg whites, set aside for 15 minutes.
- In a food processor combine and blend all sambal ingredients together until it becomes a fine paste. Set aside.
- Heat oil enough for deep frying in a large wok.
- Place tapioca flour on a plate, dip chicken into the tapioca flour to coat then deep fry chicken for 10 minutes or until cooked.
- Using the same wok set aside the oil leaving around 3 tablespoons. Add the sambal paste prepared earlier and saute until fragrant.
- Add the tomato sauce, sugar, onions and chicken stock, cook in high heat for 2 minutes.
- Add the fried chicken in together with the tomatoes, coat the chicken with the sauce. Add water if you want it to have more sauce bring to a boil then turn heat off and serve while hot.