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Ayam rica rica (spicy Manado style chicken stew)


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Posted (edited)

Manado is the main city of Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia.  In general, the people from this region like their food really really spicy. They love to say that their food is the spiciest in Indonesia, which is saying something.  Personally, while I like spicy food, eating it the traditional way is quite a bit much for me, bordering on unpleasant, so I've altered it to still have a lot of chilli flavor, but with an overall heat level that won't induce hallucinations.  You can adapt my adapted recipe to make it spicier if you prefer.


Serves 2



Spice paste (bumbu):

6 cloves garlic

5 candlenuts, roasted at 350F for 10 min.

4 big red chillies, sometimes called prik chee faa in Thai or Holland peppers in my local Hmart

2 red Thai chillies (to make spicier, use 4-5 Thai chillies)

3 inches fresh turmeric, peeled

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled


4 skin on chicken thighs, trimmed and cleaned


6 shallots, sliced fine - about 1/8" wide
1 inch galangal, smashed

1 stalk lemongrass, pounded

2 salam leaves

6 kaffir lime leaves

2 big red chillies, halved and chopped - large dice

(to make spicier, add a small handful of Thai chillies, chopped)

1/2C chicken stock + some water if needed

2 plum tomatoes, large dice
1/2 fresh turmeric leaf (optional)

1 pandan leaf (optional)

1t salt

1t sugar

1/2t chicken powder


1 large bunch Thai basil, leaves picked - maybe 30 leaves?

3 green onions, chopped in 1" lengths



1. In a small food processor, grind the spice paste ingredients until finely minced.  Remove to a mortar/pestle and grind until it is a smooth paste

2. In a braising pan with some neutral oil, brown the chicken thighs and remove

3. In the same oil over medium to medium/low heat, fry the sliced shallots until softened and slightly browned

4. Add the spice paste and fry until the oil separates out and bubbles through the middle

5. Add the galangal, lemongrass, salam leaves and kaffir lime leaves and fry until fragrant

6. Add the chopped chillies and fry for a minute or two until slightly softened

7. Add the stock, tomatoes, turmeric leaf, pandan leaf and seasoning, then add the browned chicken - add water until the liquid reaches about halfway up the chicken

8. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes

9. Remove the cover, turn the chicken pieces over and simmer for another 5 minutes

10. Turn the chicken pieces again and simmer until cooked fully

11.  Remove the chicken and reserve

12. Simmer the sauce until quite thick, then remove turmeric leaf and pandan leaf, lemongrass and galangal if desired

13. Turn off the heat and add the Thai basil and green onion and mix thoroughly to wilt and return the chicken to the pan to coat, then serve.


It should look similar to this:


Edited by KennethT (log)
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