Masak lemak cili padi is a super spicy and super rich yellow coconut gravy cooked with bird’s eyes chilies (considered to be one of the hottest chilies on the planet, just after Habanero, 50k to 100k in Scoville units). This is a Negeri Sembilan specialty and often being served during festivities like wedding or some households cook it in a regular daily basis. I’ve been told that this is a meal fit for a king cause in ancient time, masak lemak cili padi only served to royalties and nobles. This recipe has been passed down from generation and it’s authenticity has been well-preserved until now. They said anyone in Malaysia can cook this dish, but it takes a pure Negeri Sembilan soul to make this dish to be exceptionally delightful, but dont buy to it, just give it a shot!
- One whole chicken cut into pieces and clean (seekor ayam, potong kecil, bersihkan)
- 3-4 potatoes cut in to wedges and immerse into lukewarm water (3-4 biji kentang dipotong baji dan rendamkan dalam air suam)
- 3 lemon grasses and wacked to release its natural oil (3 batang serai dititik)
- 2 pieces of asam keping/dired tamarind slice (2 keping asam keping)
- 2 pieces of tumeric leaves as fragrance, finely chop into julienne cut ; optional (2 helai daun kunyit, pilihan)
- 800ml of thin coconut milk (800ml santan cair)
- 400ml of condensed coconut milk (400ml pati santan)
- salt and sugar for seasoning
- 20 bird’s eyes chilies (20 biji/ segenggam cili padi)
- One inch of young ginger (seinci halia muda)
- One inch of tumeric root (seinci kunyit hidup)
- 7 shallots (7 biji bawang merah)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic (3-4 biji bawang putih)
- Some water (sedikit air)
- After finishing blending all of the spices into a fine paste, rub it all over the chicken and let it marinates for at least half an hour. Save some of the spice blend for saute. Saute the remaining spice blend in a pot with a little bit of cooking oil (remember be gentle with the oil, this is a rich dish, so you dont want to add anymore fat in it) on medium heat until fragrant.
- Put the marinated chicken into the pot and mix well with the sauteed spice blends. Let it cook for a while until the chicken started to shrink in size, this will take no more than 3-4 minutes.
- Pour in the thin and condensed coconut milk and the potatoes into the pot and let it simmer under gentle heat. Add the asam keping along the way
- When the gravy started to thicken, add the last bit of tumeric leaves and let it boil for another 5-10 minutes. Season accordingly with salt and sugar.
This beautiful dish is best serve with any kind of Malay dishes but because of its richness it is well recommended to serve with some salty condiments like sambal belacan, cencaluk or ikan masin (dried salted fish). These condiments can cut through the richness of the dish and bring balance to your pallet. Serve with warm rice and you’ll be amazed of how AMAZING this dish really is. To tell the truth, this is my personal favorite, have a try and you’ll be hooked in no time!