Among the varied cuisines in Indonesia, Manado cuisine is famous for being extremely spicy. Many Manado dishes use plenty of chilies, so it is not for the faint of heart.
Even though I love Manado cuisine, I rarely visit a Manado restaurant. Each dish easily comes with 20+ bird-eye chilies, and my poor stomach cannot handle it. I prefer to cook Manado dishes at home because I can make the dish less spicy and perfect for my family.
Ayam Tinoransak is a spicy braised chicken dish from Manado. This dish feels fresh and light because it uses plenty of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
Comparing this dish to many other Indonesian recipes, it also uses fewer ingredients, but the flavor is not compromised. If your Asian market stocks lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, you must try cooking this in your kitchen.
Ingredients for Ayam Tinoransak
- chicken drumsticks
- kaffir lime leaves
- turmeric powder
- green serrano/jalapeno chilies
- red bird-eye chilies
- palm sugar
Use fresh lemongrass whenever possible. Frozen whole lemongrass is a good substitute for fresh lemongrass, and your Asian market may stock frozen lemongrass in the freezers.
The last option is to use lemongrass paste. I suggest using about four tablespoons of lemongrass paste to substitute fresh/frozen lemongrass for this recipe.
Kaffir lime leaves
Fresh kaffir lime leaves should be available in most Asian markets. A packet can last for a while, and you can always freeze the extras for later.
If you can’t get fresh kaffir lime leaves, you may also use dried kaffir lime leaves. The dried leaves are available from online stores such as Amazon, so this may be an easier option for most people.
If using dried leaves, double the amount since the flavor is weaker compared to fresh leaves.
How to cook Ayam Tinoransak
- Puree shallot, green serrano/jalapeno chilies, red bird-eye chilies, and ginger into a smooth paste.
- Heat oil in a pot and sauté spice paste, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add chicken pieces, stir, and cook until no longer pink.
- Pour the water into the pot, season with salt and sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes until chicken is tender and fully cooked, and the sauce has somewhat reduced. Adjust salt and sugar as needed.
- Turn off the heat and serve immediately with steamed white rice.
Serving, storing, and reheating Ayam Tinoransak
Since this is a spicy dish, I find it best to serve it with steamed white rice. The rice soaks up all the flavorful sauce and helps reduce the impact of the chilies.
Most Indonesian serve their meals with a glass of ice tea or plenty of iced water, which will be a welcome should you need to combat the spiciness from the chilies.
You can store any leftovers in an airtight container. It should stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week. You can freeze the dish for up to 2 months.
The easiest option to reheat the dish is with a microwave. For the ones stored in the fridge, you only need about 60 to 90 seconds in the microwave.
You can reheat the frozen dish in the microwave, but I prefer to thaw it in the fridge before reheating. Alternatively, you can reheat the frozen dish on a stove using a saucepot.
Other Manado recipes to try
If you love this Ayam Tinoransak and want to try other Manado dishes, you will love these recipes:
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