Peachy Sambal Chicken

I’m of Dutch background; the Dutch have a long history with Indonesia and over the years, many foods of Indonesian origin have made their way into Dutch cuisine. This recipe is based on the Indonesian dish, Ayam Samba. I found this recipe in a cookbook I’ve had for quite some time; it was written by a Dutch woman who emigrated from Holland to Canada where she married a Canadian (“Let’s Go Dutch” by Johanna Van der Zeist-Bates). I’m sure that when the book was written, it may have been difficult to find some of the ingredients that would originally have been used in a recipe like this. Now, we do have access to a broader choice of imported items that were hard to find around here even ten years ago.

For instance, the recipe in the book calls for whipping cream. I’ve substituted coconut milk as I think it’s closer to what the original recipe would have used. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have known what coconut milk could be used for, let alone have a can or two of it in my pantry! Now, though, it’s a staple in my kitchen.

The writer of the recipe also uses margarine quite extensively. Personally, I refuse to use it… ever! She also calls for oyster sauce; I didn’t have any so I subbed fish sauce, which I did happen to have..

The recipe also calls for sambal oelek, a sauce made of crushed red chilies. You could easily use sriracha. I thought that since the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of sambal oelek, it would be very spicy but I made it as written. I was pleasantly surprised. There’s definitely some heat there but it does not overwhelm the dish and push it into the realm of “OMG, that’s hot!”.

Seeing as it’s the end of January and fresh peaches are in very short supply… read that as “ain’t no way you’re gonna find fresh peaches!”… I used canned peaches. I’ll try this recipe again when the local peaches are abundant; I’m sure it will be even better than it was!

I served this over a bed of mixed red and basmati rice but any rice or grain would work. A light salad and some freshly steamed green beans complement the dish nicely. We’ll definitely be making this again and again!

Sambal chicken

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Peachy Sambal Chicken (Ayam Sambal)

[printable version]

  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek (crushed chili peppers)
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 whole chicken breasts, boned, halved and cut into large chunks, skin and fat removed
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5 fresh or canned peaches, sliced (if using fresh, remove skins)
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Rice for serving

Combine the sambal oelek, fish sauce, sesame seed oil, and 2 tbsp olive oil in a large Ziploc bag. Add the chicken pieces and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and saute in the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and the butter. Brown the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side and then add the marinade mixture along with the peaches and the coconut milk. Simmer on med-low for about 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken and peaches from the sauce and keep them warm. Sir the turmeric into the mixture in the skillet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken and peaches to the pan, then simmer with the sauce for another three minutes or so. Serve over cooked rice.

For additional eye appeal and nutritional value, serve with steamed, fresh or frozen, whole green beans. 

Serves 5

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