Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ayam Masak Lemak Cili Api ~ Chicken in Bird's Eye Chilli and Coconut Gravy - MFF N9#1

Negeri Sembilan is a very special state with a strong Minangkabau culture. It's nice to be born as a girl in a Minang family. They practise girl-power, LOL.... and you get to inherit, instead of the guys.

Besides being known for it's horned roof houses, it is famous for it's fiery dishes. It should be so fiery that you can feel your ears hissing, LOL. But then again, you can always tune it down. But that's how fiery it should be.

I talked about my Minang friend, Ainur in a few dishes (Noodle pancake and Nasi Goreng Kampung). This is another dish I learnt from her. I used to think that I should saute the ground ingredients like onions, garlic and turmeric before adding chicken and everything..... but after observing her cook, there's no such thing! It's very basic and that's the Minang version. No onions, no garlic, no sauteing........ A method different from the versions of other states. Well, if you check on the internet, there are a few other blogs that confirms this fact. And Masak Lemak Cili Api is one of the signature cooking methods of the Minang culture in Negeri Sembilan.

She told me there's no potatoes usually, but can be added if one likes it. I like it, so I added. She also told me to stir the gravy all the time to prevent it from curdling. I have to admit here, I took a shortcut. I used my normal method that is to add in the coconut milk at the end to prevent curdling. But then again, one can't add all of it at the end, the fragrance will be missing. If one makes a lot of gravy then I think it's possible to be stirring all the time, but since we don't consume so much gravy, it's a bit hard to stir without 'destroying' the chicken. Nowadays chicken are way tooo tender for such rigourous handling.

turmeric root and leaves from my garden
You can masak lemak cili api with a lot of other things instead of chicken and just chicken. Duck eggs, duck, beef, fish, brinjal, pumpkin.... it's the style of cooking that is of the state. It is not only confined to chicken.

And I used way less coconut milk than the norm, because like I said, I didn't prepare that much of gravy. If you want a lot of gravy for this to be served with noodles, go ahead and double the coconut milk and water. You will like it with your favourite noodles. The norm is 2 to 3 coconuts per chicken. 1 coconut is 200ml of coconut milk.  Don't worry about the coconut milk, it's rich lauric acid that's good for you. It is supposed to taste fiery hot and rich.

Take note that some bird's eye chilli is hotter than some, use at one's own discretion. But then again, 5 pcs won't make the cut. Don't skimp that much! Go ahead and start hissing up your ears!

Ayam Masak Lemak Cili Api (Chicken in Bird’s Eye Chilli Coconut Gravy)
Recipe source: WendyinKK
Learnt from: Ainur Farilla

700-850gm chicken (6 large pieces or half a medium bird)
2 inch turmeric root (I used 20gm peeled)
25 bird’s eye chillis (more if u like it fiery)
2 lemongrass, bashed
2 Potatoes (optional), cut into wedges
100ml coconut milk + 400ml water
100ml coconut milk
1 turmeric leaf, torn to large pieces
Salt to taste

1. Grind chilli and turmeric together.
2. Put chicken pieces, chilli paste and lemon grass into a wok.
3. On medium low heat, let it cook until the meat turns opaque and you can see the base of the wok looking greasy.
4. Put in diluted coconut milk, stir and bring to a boil. Make sure amount of liquid covers the chicken, if not, add more water.
5. Put in potatoes, turn heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes (cover with lid)
6. Remove lid, turn heat medium and then add in salt, taste, adjust if needed.
7. Put in turmeric leaf and balance of coconut milk, gently stir it for 10-20 seconds and turn off the heat.

*If you can't get turmeric leaf, it's ok. Having that is a bonus.

I am submitting this post to MFF Negeri Sembilan Month hosted by Hody Loh of Cook for U & Me


  1. Wendy! I love your blog and how intelligent you are. Most people would say coconut milk isn't good for you, but you know otherwise. Keep up your awesome blog, it's wonderful!

  2. I must try this~thanks for sharing!

  3. Wendy, I have been looking at NS recipe and the amount of cili padi used is astounding - can jump to the roof! Your ayam dish looks really good. And I am also a supporter of coconut milk and coconut oil. Take extra virgin coconut oil daily, it is a fat burner!

  4. Wendy, I love spicy food. This recipe looks good and yummy. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I totally approve of the spice levels here hee hee. This looks delicious! I want to try different sorts of chicken curry, since i always end up with my default tried-and-tested one. this one is on my list this year!

  6. Hi Wendy, this looks really good to me but not my kids :)
    Minang food are mostly super spicy indeed til my face all red and perspire everywhere including my scalp LOL
    So, is noodle pancake and nasi goreng kampong can be accepted for MFF Negeri Sembilan? Both looks good too! :)

  7. mimia,
    Yes, coconut milk taken moderately is good for us. It's still fat, hahhaaha! But good ones.

    little blue,
    Join our event as well yeah :P

    Phong Hong,
    Our fresh coconut milk surely got EVCO oil, hahaha, just drink it like juice, hehehe, cheaper than those bottled ones and more delish! There's another reason to consume more cendol, hahaha!

    heheh, this is very spicy de

    Shu Han,
    If u can, make your ears hiss and your scalp smoking, LOL!

    LOL, I guess you need a towel when you eat Minang food. I'm sorry but noodle pancake and nasi goreng kampung isn't indigenous to N9, sorry!

  8. I love this dish, and i always orr it whenever i go to Chawan, yum!

  9. I don't think I can handle 25 bird eye's chilli! Too hot lol!

  10. hi this is my all time fav food
    Im Malaysian :)
    My late mom tought me to cook masak lemak cili padi ayam just like your recipe. Easy, no need onion or garlic or sauteing.
    Just blend the tumeric with cili padi and insert coconut milk. Stir.

  11. how charm u's a gud if u put less cilipadi for kids.i always make it like this


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