Ayam sioh, or tamarind chicken, is from the Nyonya cuisine of Malaysia and Indonesia, a blend of Chinese food and Malay spices, developed by the Chinese who migrated to Penang, Malacca, and Singapore. Nyonya food is typically tangy, aromatic, spicy, and herbal, and tamarind chicken is up there with the best. While the list of ingredients may look long and daunting to those looking for a quick and easy recipe, then, don’t be deceived. All the ingredients except the chicken are just lumped together and quickly reduced to a paste with a stick blender. Best prepared the day before and kept in the fridge overnight so that the meat can absorb the flavours, tamarind chicken is then just a 90-minute roasting job in the oven.
- 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon of tamari
- 1 tablespoon of runny honey
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 large thumb-sized piece of ginger
- ½ ounce / 15g coriander (stalks discarded)
- 1 teaspoon of hot paprika
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 3lbs 5 ounces / 1.5kg free range chicken
Using a stick blender, make a paste out of all the ingredients (except the chicken).
Rub the paste into the chicken (I use a pair of disposable gloves) so that it is thoroughly worked into the skin all over.
Cover and put in the fridge overnight.
When ready, pre-heat the oven to 190°C / 374°F (170°C / 338°F fan).
Remove the chicken from the fridge and put in a tight fitting roasting tray lined with foil.
Cook in the oven for 90 minutes.
Serve with rice.