Home > Ayam Nasu Palekko (Makassar Spicy Chicken)

Ayam Nasu Palekko (Makassar Spicy Chicken)

Posting Date: 11/23/22

Ayam Nasu Palekko (Makassar Spicy Chicken)

Ayam Nasu Palekko (Makassar Spicy Chicken) originated in Makassar, South Sulawesi. This dish is full of flavor. It is tangy from the tamarind, sweet from the palm sugar, citrusy from the kaffir lime leaves, salty from the salt, and hot from the chili peppers. Traditionally, this dish is supposed to be very hot because it uses 30 chili peppers with seeds and ribs. However, this is too hot for me and most people, so I make the heat level between mild and medium. You can adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of chili peppers used. In this recipe, I use sambal oelek rather than fresh red chili peppers, so adjust the amount of sambal oelek to make it hotter or less hotter. It is hard to find fresh red chili peppers in my Asian stores, so that’s why I substitute with sambal oelek. You can use fresh red chili peppers if you can find them in Asian stores.

In this recipe, I use chicken breast but originally, it uses chicken thighs. So, you can also use chicken thighs if preferred. I serve this dish with slices of fresh tomatoes and thinly slices of green onion to add freshness because I like fruit and vegetables.

This recipe serves for 2-3 people.


  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate. You can find tamarind concentrate in Asian stores. If you cannot find it, it is also sold in a bag as tamarind pulp. If using tamarind pulp, take about 1 tablespoon and mix it with 1 tablespoon hot water. Leave the tamarind mixture for 30 min. After 30 min, collect tamarind liquid using a strainer and discard the solid inside the strainer. Since we only need 1 tablespoon tamarind liquid, take 1 tablespoon of the tamarind liquid. You could discard the excess liquid.
  • 4 tablespoon water
  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breast, diced into bite size. You could use boneless and skinless chicken thighs if preferred. If so, use 4 chicken thighs.
  • For spice paste: 2 large or 6 small size shallots, quartered
  • For spice paste: 5 cloves of garlic, halved
  • For spice paste: 1.5 tablespoons sambal oelek. This amount of sambal oelek makes the dish between mild and medium. If you want it spicier, use more sambal oelek. If you want it milder, use less sambal oelek. You can also use fresh red chili peppers if you can find it in your Asian stores.
  • For spice paste: 1/2 teaspoon galangal powder or 1/2" fresh galangal. Slice fresh galangal if you use it. You could also substitute fresh galangal with fresh ginger if you can’t find fresh galangal.
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 lemongrass, white part smashed with the back of the knife and green part discarded
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or to taste. You can substitute with brown sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • Optional: 1 green onion, green part thinly sliced. You can use the white part of the green onion for other recipes.
  • Optional: 1 tomato, sliced. The tomato adds freshness.


  1. Place concentrate tamarind and water in a small bowl. Whisk to mix the liquid. Pour the liquid into a ziploc bag. Place diced chicken inside the ziploc bag. Close the bag while making sure you get the air out of the bag. Move the chicken around inside the bag so that it can be coated evenly with the tamarind liquid. Leave the bag in the fridge for 10 min.
  2. While waiting for the chicken to marinate, place shallots, garlic, galangal, sambal oelek in a food processor. Pulse it until the spices become smooth paste.
  3. Once the chicken has been marinated for 10 min, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat in a pan. Add spice paste, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass. Saute until the spice paste becomes fragrant and the color changes from bright yellow to darker yellow. Add chicken along with the tamarind liquid used to marinate the chicken. Stir fry the chicken. Once the chicken turns white, add palm sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir fry until the chicken is fully cooked. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Remove the pan from the heat and discard bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass.
  4. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle thinly sliced green onion over the top. Serve it with sliced tomato and warm rice.

All images, materials, and recipes on Indonesiancooking101.com are protected by copyright. Please do not use or republish the recipes, materials, or images without prior written permission from Indonesian Cooking 101. If you want to share this recipe, please share the link rather than the whole recipe.

Follow Us: twitter button twitter button instagram button