Most sambal recipes are pretty standard but you can tweak which flavours you wish to bring forward according to which main ingredient go into it. For example, dried anchovies are best used for plain sambal or ones with prawns and tofu. This is another one of my mum’s creations- a blend of aromatic Indian spices compliments the chicken sambal very well.
500-600g chicken pieces/ breast meat (in slices)
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
2 cm ginger, minced or crushed
1 large cinnamon stick
3-4 star anise
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
3-4 tablespoon of blended chilli paste
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1-2 teaspoon dark brown sugar or grated palm sugar
Shallow fry the seasoned chicken pieces until lightly browned on all sides. Leave it aside for later.
If possible, use the same pan and about 2-3 tablespoon of the oil used for frying the chicken for the second part of this recipe (this adds the flavour lost from frying back into the dish); excess oil can be left aside in a clean, dry bowl and added to the sambal if needed later. Fry the chilli paste until it becomes darker and lumpy. Add the spices, onion, crushed garlic and ginger and fry for a few minutes until it becomes fragrant.
The tomatoes go in next along with ½ cup of water. The chicken in added to the sambal and let this simmer for ten minutes or until the desired consistency is reached. Lemon or lime juice, sugar and some salt is added to taste.