Home > Ayam Kemangi Cabai Hijau (Green Chili Basil Chicken)

Ayam Kemangi Cabai Hijau (Green Chili Basil Chicken)

Posting Date: 01/06/19

Ayam Kemangi Cabai Hijau (Green Chili Basil Chicken)

Ayam Kemangi Cabai Hijau (Green Chili Basil Chicken) originated in Manado (also called Menado) in northern part of Sulawesi island. Ayam means chicken, kemangi means basil, cabai means chili peppers, and hijau means green. The dishes from Manado is normally hot. Thus, this dish originally uses more chili peppers than in my recipe. In my recipe, I make it mild to accommodate wider range. So, feel free to use more peppers if you have high tolerance to heat.

In Manado, green chili peppers are used in this dish and when it is sauteed, it releases the specific aroma from the peppers. These peppers are not hot. Since I cannot find the same peppers, I decided to use jalapeno peppers. You can use any green chili peppers you can find. Traditionally, Thai chili peppers are used for the heat. Since I couldn't find Thai chili peppers, I used sambal oelek. If you can find Thai chili peppers, use them instead. They are very hot, so adjust the quantity according to your tolerance to heat.

Since the dish is traditionally hot, rice makes a perfect companion. The rice reduces the heat and soaked up the flavor from the spice paste. If you like naan bread, this dish goes really well with it.

In Manado, 1/2 of whole chicken is used. The chicken is then cut into pieces. You can use bone-in chicken drumstick, wing, or breast. If you do so, use 1 cup of water instead of 1/2 cup, so that you can properly cook the chicken. Cook the chicken in low heat and cover it until it is fully cooked.

The recipe serves for 2-3 people.


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the spice paste: 4 small or 1 large size shallots, quartered
  • For the spice paste: 3 cloves of garlic, halved
  • For the spice paste: 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • For the spice paste: 3 candlenuts, halved. If you cannot find them in Asian stores, use macadamia nuts.
  • For the spice paste: 1 jalapeno pepper or green chili pepper, sliced. If you like the heat, you could use more pepper.
  • For the spice paste: 1 tablespoon sambal oelek. You could use more if you like the heat. You could use 2 Thai chili peppers if you could find them in the stores. Since Thai chili pepper is really hot, adjust the quantity according to your tolerance to heat.
  • For the spice paste: 1" fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • For the spice paste: 2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced. If you cannot find kaffir lime leaves, use 1/2 teaspoon of lime zest.
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 lemongrass, white part smashed with the back part of the knife and green part discarded
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 20 basil leaves


  1. Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with salt. Place the chicken on a plate. Squeeze lime over the chicken on both sides. Set the chicken aside in the fridge for 30 min. After 30 min, rinse the chicken with water to remove the salt. Pat it dry with paper towel. Dice it into bite size.
  2. While waiting for the chicken to marinate for 30 min, you could process the spice paste by placing the spice paste ingredients into a food processor. Pulse it until it becomes smooth paste.
  3. Once the chicken is ready, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil on a pan over medium high heat. Add spice paste and lemongrass into the pan. Saute the spice paste until it becomes aromatic. Add the diced chicken. Stir fry the chicken so that it is coated with the spice paste. Cook the chicken until it is fully cooked. Add water, salt, and sugar. Stir to mix the seasoning. Taste it and add more salt or sugar if needed. Add green onion and basil leaves. Stir it. Remove from the heat.
  4. Serve it warm with rice.

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