How to make Balinese Chicken (Ayam Pelalah), a guest post for Rasa Malaysia

December 04, 2011

If you take a glance at the picture, I believe that you might wonder. 
Does it tantalized you? or perhaps inquisitive about it and if decided scrolling down the page to find out the recipe.

oops! you should have to hold your breath just for one second and stay with me 

Well, as you might notice by today post title that I’m doing a guest post.
Honestly I’m excited and honoured when I received invitation from Bee to be a guest writer on Rasa Malaysia, It such a wonderful opportunity and a brilliant task I ever had so far.

Bee is the author of Rasa Malaysia, one of biggest easy Asian recipes website and also the author of Easy Chinese Recipes cooking book.
I have admired her passions since then, to me she is one of the truest inspiration person I have ever known. Until today I still devoted to her sambal nasi lemak recipe and every time I hold my nasi lemak day amongst friends or family, I became a dearly loved person and to tell you the truth that her sambal nasi lemak recipe has never let me down, thank you Bee!

So what are you waiting for, fasten your seat belt and head over Rasa Malaysia to get to know the real exotic Balinese food from me, Balinese chicken “Ayam pelalah”

Thank you everyone and enjoy your wonderful Sunday!


I’m sharing a recipe of Balinese food today. Balinese chicken or ayam pelalah is a traditional and authentic Balinese dish, an everyday dish as well as a ceremonial staple. It’s basically shredded chicken. The chicken is first grilled and then tossed  with many aromatic Balinese spices. It’s one of the most scrumptious Balinese recipes and it’s iconic to Bali. Ayam pelalah is commonly served as a side dish or as a compliment for nasi campur Bali or Balinese mixed rice.

The general assumption is that Balinese cooking is tedious and takes a long time to prepare. However, I believe that if you’re passionate about learning Balinese cuisine and have patience, you’ll never be hindered by this presumption. I personally think differently as cooking traditional Balinese food is like a sacred offering to the God—it’s the belief of  Balinese Hinduism. However, I must warn you that Balinese food is spicy and calls for numerous spices in the preparation process, so it’s true that cooking Balinese food is a tedious process.
I learned about Balinese food when I attended a Balinese cooking class last year. I also own a couple Balinese cookery books. After the cooking class, I couldn’t wait to go home and started cooking Balinese food for my family. I was so excited to be able to make authentic Balinese dishes; it was a fun and wonderful experience. I was very lucky as I learned authentic Balinese cooking from a native. Nothing beats learning from native home cooks; they are the most humble, kind, and sincere people I’ve ever known. Since then, I’ve been cooking and experimenting authentic Balinese cooking at home.

Balinese Shredded Chicken Recipe (Ayam Pelalah)
400g chicken breast
Aromatic herbs:
2 salam leaves (Indonesian bay leaves)
3 kaffir lime leaves (daun jeruk)
2 stalks lemongrass , bruised and tie into a knot
Juice from 3 limes (limau), optional
Spice paste:
10 red chilies, deseeded and sliced
6 bird eye chilies, sliced
10 shallots, sliced
5 garlic, chopped
3cm fresh turmeric root, sliced
½ teaspoon toasted shrimp paste (terasi/belachan)
1 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
Oil, for frying
Salt and sugar to taste
Preheat the oven 180 degree Celsius. Rub the chicken breast with the olive oil or coconut oil and season with salt. Place the chicken on a baking tray and roast until done, about 40 minutes.
Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, combine chilies, shallots, garlic and turmeric, grind to a smooth paste. If you using a blender, make sure to add a little bit of water or cooking oil to blend the ingredients.
Heat 5 tablespoons of the cooking oil in a wok, add in the spice paste, lemongrass, bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves, stir-fry until fragrant. Season with salt and sugar to taste. Add in another tablespoon of cooking oil if you want. Remove from the heat and transfer into a bowl, set aside.
Back to the chicken in the oven. When it’s done roasting, remove from the oven and let cool. Discard the skin and deboned, shred the meat into medium-thick strips. Take a spoonful of the spice paste, combine with the chicken meat with the spice paste, toss well until the chicken until the chicken is perfectly coated with the spice paste. Add another spoon of the spice paste if not well coated. Serve the remaining spice paste as a side or as sambal.
Meanwhile, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, place half of the chicken and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, repeat the same for the remaining chicken. (I did this step because I found that the shredded chicken meat was a bit wet after being mixed with the spice paste so by doing the quick stir-fry, the texture is what I wanted, a slightly dried up shredded chicken that I love. If you use charcoal to grill the chicken, coal-grill, other than oven grill/roasting, I don’t think of this step is required.)
Transfer the chicken onto a a serving plate and squeeze the juice of the lime before serving.
Cook’s Note:
The limau lime (jeruk limo/nasnaran Mandarin), or jeruk sambal is used for enhancing the flavor of sambal and sauces. It’s commonly used in Balinese cooking. The fruit is small with a smooth skin surface, it releases an aromatic and citrucy smell when it’s touched and squeezed.

You Might Also Like