Recipe: Crispy fried chicken with sambal

Crispy fried chicken with sambal
Crispy fried chicken with sambal. Photo credit: Asian Food Network

Recipe courtesy of Asian Food Network

Here's a dish that is as tasty as it is spicy, the fried chicken sambal. The fiery redness and heat of this dish comes from the sambal, an addictive paste made mostly from chillies, dried shrimp and a variety of Southeast Asian spices.

The chicken is marinated and deep fried, then thrown into a sauce made from a concoction of tomato, onions and chicken stock. Not for the fainthearted, but you will be rewarded for your bravado.


Serves 8 

  • 5 chicken thighs, cut into pieces (chicken can be substituted with pork, fish or mushroom)
  • 10 stalks lemongrass, sliced
  • 2cm fresh ginger root
  • 5cm galangal
  • 3cm turmeric root
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp corn flour
  • ½ tbsp + ½ tbsp salt
  • ½ tbsp white pepper
  • 2½ tbsp brown sugar
  • lime (garnish)
  • vegetable oil
  • 50g green chilli padi (bird's eye chilli)
  • 100g large red chilli
  • 100g tamarind paste, soaked in 100ml water, de-seeded
  • 3 calamansi lime, juiced
  • 50 g belacan (shrimp paste), roasted.


1. Make sambal (optional: feel free to use your favourite recipe or brand)

  • In a blender, add the green chilli padi and large red chilli and blend until smooth. Set aside. You can adjust the level of spice by adding or removing the amount of chilli padi.
  • In a pan on a medium heat, break up and fry the belacan until fragrant.
  • In the same pan, add the blended chilli paste, tamarind paste, calamansi juice, salt and two tablespoons of brown sugar and fry for five minutes. Set aside.

2. Marinate chicken

  • In a blender, add the lemongrass, ginger, galangal, turmeric root, garlic, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds until a smooth consistency is achieved. Drizzle vegetable oil into the blender while blending the spices to create a smoother paste.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the chicken, salt, white pepper, the remaining brown sugar, corn flour and the marinade. Mix well until chicken is evenly coated. 
  • Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Add more flavour and save time by marinating chicken the night before.

3. Cook chicken

  • In a pot, heat up enough oil for deep frying. Deep-fry the marinated chicken pieces until golden brown.
  • Drain the fried chicken on a plate lined with paper towel.
Crispy fried chicken with sambal
Photo credit: Asian Food Network

4. Plate and serve

  • Plate and serve hot with sambal belacan and a wedge of lime on the side.

Asian Food Network