Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chilling With Chilli - Sambal And Simple Smashed Chicken

So, is it chilli, chili or chile? ....I say chill! It all validly points to the hot pepper vegetable that causes beads of sweat to pour down our temples.

In American English, however, 'chili' largely refers to the stew, chili con carne (Source: Chile, Chili, or Chilli? What's the Correct Spelling?). You know the saying - When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Malaysians generally love a little spiciness in their food. Many restaurants serving rice with meat and vegetable dishes include a small plate of sliced chilli to go along with the meal.

Sambal is another way Malaysians enjoy their chilli. This sauce is traditionally made by pounding chilli together with other ingredients such as onions, garlic and ginger, into a rough paste. The flavour is further enhanced with the addition of shrimp paste, fish sauce or vinegar. It is usually seasoned with salt or sugar and a squeeze of lime juice at the end. It can be eaten raw or cooked. When it comes to sambal, the varieties are endless! 

We enjoy sambal in many ways. It typically accompanies coconut rice (nasi lemak) or plain rice which is served with fried meat, seafood or vegetables, and fresh greens . It is also commonly paired with fried rice and noodles. We sometimes do away with cutlery when having sambal with rice. Eating with hand is the way to go for a tastier experience.

Sambal (Chilli)

I decided to make my own after enjoying a heap with ayam penyet (smashed chicken) at a local food court the other day. The chicken is called smashed chicken for obvious reasons. All the easier to eat when the meat has been flattened apart.

My version of sambal is a quickie, also served with smashed chicken but in the simplest sense without the spices and the work. A great take to satisfy impromptu cravings.

Simple Smashed Chicken


- 2 whole chicken leg
- 1 thumb ginger (grated)
- Salt and white pepper to taste

1) Rub chicken with salt, pepper and grated ginger.
2) Bake in oven, on a foiled baking tray, for about 50 minutes at 180C.
(Cooking time may vary depending on chicken size)
3) Once cooked, place chicken on a clean cutting board and smash once or twice using a cleaver.

1) Bake the chicken
2) Coriander, Chilli, Onions, Garlic
3) Blend the ingredients above
4) Cook in oil


To blend into a rough paste
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 6 red chilli (chopped)
- A handful of chopped coriander
- 1 stalk lemongrass - optional (remove dry/hard outer part and top. sliced.)


Chilli paste
- 4 tbsp 3-in-1 cili giling (tamarind and salt flavoured dried chilli paste)
4 tbsp finely blended rehydrated dried chilli with 1 tsp tamarind paste. (There is no need to add salt here since it can be added during the cooking process.)

- ¼ cup cooking oil or more
- 1 calamondin (halved, for serving)


1) Heat oil in pan.
2) Stir-fry blended ingredients for a minute or two. Then, add the flavoured dried chilli paste. Season with salt, if necessary.
3) Continue stirring and cooking for 2-3 minutes. That's all there is to it. 
4) Squeeze calamondin juice over the chilli just before serving.

To eat : Serve smashed chicken with rice along with sambal and some fresh greens like lettuce, cucumber slices or coriander.

Smashed And Ready To Be Eaten!

Sambal And Smashed Chicken

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  1. Your sambal sauce looks so good! I should make my own too instead of buying from our local supermarkets.

    1. The blender is a great help. If I had to pound the ingredients by hand, I would have thought twice about making

  2. I think it's ideal food for my partner. He likes very hot food. I will try to make it for him.

  3. A wonderful combination! Love the look of your mouth's watering!!

    1. I drooled more than necessary over this one! It's because I love a bit of chilli in all my food ❤

  4. looks so tempting
    sambal always can't go wrong with any dish for Malaysian

  5. outstanding dish....we are feeling so hungry after looking at that red sambal and the chicken....will be making this with tofu for supper,this is something which will make us forget all other spicy dishes and make us prepare this again and again,thanks :-)

  6. Hi Sharon,

    I'm equally confused too whenever my spelling check prompt me to correct my chillies to chilies... aiya.

    Let's disregard the spelling here. I think your sambal chicken with lots of chillies look yummy here :D


  7. Nice sambal Sharon, and I can only imagine how this chicken taste with it...looks very flavorful! By the way, I too get very confused with the wording...
    Enjoy the weekend :D

  8. Thank you, Juliana. "Ohhh..!" - on the wording *rolling my eyes here* . You have a great day :D

  9. Smashed chicken and sambal...I can use some of that just about now. Looks great!


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