I recently saw this on TV (Astro Wah Lai Toi) during CNY when Hong Kong actor Wayne Lai was in town to film a series of auspicious dishes for Chinese New Year. It’s only 4 episodes but lots of interesting dishes from there. My mom has made 1 and I have made 1 dish from just ONE episode, because it’s quite interesting and looks delicious. The first one that my mom made was the vegetarian ngo hiang (will upload recipe when I have pictures; she will make again, I’m sure) and the 2nd dish is this one. The lady on the show was a Indonesian Chinese married to Malaysian so this grilled chicken is somewhat Indonesian inspired as it uses Indonesian Kecap Manis (thick sweet sauce) and fresh coconut water (because we live in the tropics).
There weren’t any exact measurements during the show but I just gauge it based on what I see and tweaked it as I go along.
- 6 whole chicken legs
- 6 pcs red chili
- 8 small red onion
- 2 garlic clove
- 1 young coconut (water and flesh)
- 80g salted butter
- 80g ABC kecap manis
- 2 limes, cut to wedges
- Remove the green head from chili and cut in half. In a small pot, bring water and chili to a boil, about 10 minutes or until it is soft.
- Once soft, remove from pot and add it in a food processor or blender. Blend with red onion and garlic and 2-3 tbsp of the coconut water until smooth.
- Pour out into a saucepan and cook on medium heat. Once it starts bubbling, add in butter. Stir till butter has melted and seperated from the chili. The chili paste will be slightly darker red in colour. This will take about 10 minutes.
- In a pot, add in chicken legs and the remaining coconut water. Cover with a lid. Turn on the heat and let it cook for 10 minutes, without opening the lid.
- After the chili paste is fragrant and pasty, pour it into a tray. Add kecap manis (the amount of kecap is the same ratio as the chili paste in volume). Squeeze in juice from 1½ limes. Keep the remaining ½ lime to squeeze it before serving.
- Add in the chicken, coat the paste all over and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes.
- Turn on the grill function in the oven (200 C) and grill, skin side up for 15-20 minutes. Yes, including the marinade (It is delicious with rice)
- Slice coconut flesh and sprinkle on top with some chopped chili, coriander and lime wedge.
This is actually my first time cooking with coconut water. Usually I drink coconut water, well, use the shreds, or make coconut milk out from it, but not coconut water by itself. Cooking the chicken in coconut water infuses it with a fragrant yet refreshing smell. And also, the process of making chili paste. Most of the time I would use fresh red chili or dried chili soaked in water (like making KL Pan Mee) but this time, the chili is boiled first till it is somewhat soft. It eases the process of blending it as it still retains some moisture. Oh and if there’s anything newer to me, it’s caramelizing the chili paste with BUTTER! oh God! Butter makes it extra fragrant as I’m using SCS salted butter.
This is actually very yummy, maybe because it’s sweet and spicy but not too sticky. The leftover sauce goes very well with rice so just be careful that you made need some extra rice to polish it off!