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Ayam Belado

ayam belado 2


Ayam belado means tangy chicken sambal in the Indonesian language.

Sambal refers to any dish that contains ground chilli paste which is cooked with some other ingredients to make it very palatable and appetising.  Most people I know drool over a very good sambal. You will drool over this too as it is ridiculously easy and tasty to make.

This chicken dish has been a family favourite for some time.  Simple as it is and goes very well with rice or chappati or other staples. I have actually tweaked the recipe which I got from a  friend’s mother, and she learnt it from her mother! Some recipes are generations old and soo good!

I wrote the recipe while she verbally gave me the ‘hows’ to do it.  In her recipe she used fresh red chillies and chilli padi (Bird’s eye chilli). This will make this dish very very hot.  You may want to try it especially those of you who love extremely hot food.  Or you may substitute red chillies to fresh green chillies .

I have tried many versions but this version is very simple, tested and tried many times over.


ayam belado 1


You may want to grind the ingredients for the ground paste in double portions as you can freeze it to do other variations of this dish, using squid, prawns or fish.  So go ahead and cook it and give me comments or if you have any questions, I will gladly answer them.

 ayam belado 3



1 chicken, about 1.2 kg, cut into medium sized pieces

1 onion, sliced thinly

1  stalk lemongrass (serai), the white part only

Juice of 2 limes ( limau kesturi) or 1 green lime

3 lime leaves ( limau purut leaves),  shredded

2 tbsp grapeseed or corn oil

1 tsp sugar

Salt to taste


Marinade for chicken:

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tbsp garlic paste

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp salt


To grind finely:

20 dried chillies, washed and  soaked in water. Drain before grinding.

2 cm piece galangal ( lengkuas)

1 cm piece fresh turmeric

1 large tomato

1 stalk lemongrass (serai),  the white part only

2 medium sized onions



Marinate chicken with the marinade ingredients. Keep aside for a few minutes.

Heat a wok or pan, add 1 tbsp of oil, lightly brown  the chicken pieces.  Remove and keep aside.

This should not take more than 3 minutes.

In the same wok, add 1 tbsp oil, add the lemongrass and the ground paste, stir and let it cook on medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Add sugar and salt to taste.

Once you get the nice aroma, add in the chicken and stir, add ½ cup of water and let it cook for another 10 minutes or till chicken is cooked. It will be a dry sambal dish.

Add the sliced onions and lime juice if necessary. Mix well.  Remove from heat and garnish with shredded lime leaves.

Serve with rice or crusty bread.



Good to grind double portions of the ground paste – to use it for another time.  Freeze the extra.

If only fresh green chillies are used, it becomes ayam belado hijau.

You can substitute chicken with seafood – you do not need to brown them.  Just add the cleaned seafood after the sambal is cooked.  The cooking time is also much lesser as seafood cooks much faster.

You can substitute fresh turmeric with ½ tsp of turmeric powder.

Salt, sugar and lime juice is according to your taste.  Let your tastebuds adjust for you.

If you want to have more sambal gravy, add 1 to 1 ½ cups water while adding the chicken to the pot.

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