A Balinese spice mix recipe turns leftover chicken into a delicious souvenir

Shredded chicken with Balinese spice paste

Active Time:15 minutes

Total time:30 minutes, time to make the base genape (see related recipe)


Active Time:15 minutes

Total time:30 minutes, time to make the base genape (see related recipe)


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In Bali, this simple dish is usually served with a scoop of rice and a side of fresh vegetables called lalpan — food writer Pat Tanumiharda likes diced cucumbers and tomatoes. A great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken, this recipe also works well with canned tuna. For a cross-cultural culinary twist, serve ayam subir as a taco filling!

A multi-layered masala paste recipe unlocks Bali’s recipes

You can use brown sugar instead of coconut or palm sugar, but consider using only 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar because brown sugar is sweeter.

If using cooked chicken, shred it only as directed, and where the recipe calls for reserved cooking liquid, use water or chicken broth.

Related Recipe: Bes Jenep (Balinese Spice Paste)

Shredded chicken with Balinese spice paste

Storage Notes: Freeze leftovers for up to 4 days.

Where to buy: Coconut or palm sugar can be found at Asian markets or online.

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  • 1 pound bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or breasts or 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded chicken (see headnotes)
  • 2 lemon lime leaves, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, more as needed
  • 6 tablespoons base genape (see related recipe)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or palm sugar (see headnote)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper (optional)
  • Chopped long red chilies (optional)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, to serve
  • sliced ​​cucumber, for serving (optional)
  • chopped tomatoes, for serving (optional)

Place the chicken in a small saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Crush 1 lemon leaf and add it to the saucepan with a pinch of salt. Set the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, skimming any brown scum that rises to the surface.

Cover, remove from heat and let the chicken cook until it registers at least 165 degrees on a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken away from the bone, 15 to 20 minutes. The juices should run clear when you pierce the chicken with a knife.

Let sit until cool enough to handle, then shred the chicken with your fingers or two forks and reserve the cooking liquid (see headnote).

In a medium skillet over medium heat, whisk together the base genape, coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid, and the remaining lime leaves, and bring to a simmer.

Add chicken, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Adjust heat as needed to maintain a simmer, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated but the chicken is still moist, 5 to 6 minutes. If desired, add lemon juice, taste, and season with more sugar, salt and/or lemon juice. Stir in bell peppers and chilies, if using, and remove from heat. Remove the lemon leaf.

Divide chicken among shallow bowls and serve with rice and vegetables, if using.

Calories: 334; Total fat: 14 grams; Saturated fat: 6 grams; Cholesterol: 73 mg; Sodium: 371 mg; Carbohydrates: 24 grams; Dietary fiber: 1 gram; Sugar: 1 gram; Protein: 26 grams

This analysis is an estimate based on available material and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

From food writer Pat Tanumiharda.

Trial by Jim Webster; Email questions voraciously@washpost.com.

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