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Indonesian chicken satay with caramelised shallot sambal

Kecap manis is Indonesia's answer to ketchup. It is a syrupy sweet soy sauce that is used abundantly in the cuisine. I first had it in a restaurant in the Bay Area and my pantry is never without a bottle since. Dark, sticky, and flavourful, this condiment can be used on anything, from a dip to sauces to burgers. I will warn you, once you try this condiment, it is hard not to have a bottle handy at all times. Adding this sauce to a dish adds that perfect sense of "umami" to the dish.

This is a very simple recipe with 4 ingredients. But the kecap manis does its magic. The dark grilled chicken is sweet and packed full of "umami" goodness. The Caramelised shallot sambal, on the other hand, is bold and spicy. It pairs well with the sweetness of the chicken bringing the dish alive, especially with a beer in hand. I served the grilled meat on a piece of paratha, the richness of the paratha served as a good base for the combination.

This is a beautiful cookbook on Indonesian cuisine. The dishes are wonderful and flavorful and the recipes are very well written. This book brings a diversity of cuisine to my kitchen and table. Lara Lee brings to you recipes that have been handed down through generations orally, as well as newer recipes in a very easy-to-read format. This is a great book for those who want to learn about this cuisine and culture.

For more delicious recipes from this cookbook click here


1/2 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips

4 tablespoons kecap manis

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 teaspoon pepper

Mix all the ingredients and allow to marinate for 2 hours. I generally like to marinate the meat in the morning for dinner.

Grill the meat for 4-5 minutes per side till cooked through and charred in spots. Serve immediately with the sambal.

Alternatively, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Layer the meat in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes till cooked through and the chicken is tender.

Serve immediately with the Caramelised shallot sambal layered on a piece of paratha.

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