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Ayam Suwir Bumbu Bali (Shredded Chicken With Balinese Spice Paste)

Ayam Suwir Bumbu Bali (Shredded Chicken With Balinese Spice Paste) 4.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Feb 1, 2023

This simple dish is usually served with a scoop of rice and a side of fresh vegetables called lalapan — food writer Pat Tanumihardja prefers sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. A superb way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken, this recipe also works well with canned tuna. For a cross-cultural culinary twist, serve ayam suwir as a taco filling!

Active time: 15 mins; Total time: 30 mins, plus the time to make base genep (see related recipe)

Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days.

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


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 pound bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or breasts or 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cooked chicken (see NOTES)
  • 2 makrut lime leaves, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, plus more as needed
  • 6 tablespoons base genep (see related recipe)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon coconut or palm sugar (see NOTE)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (optional)
  • Sliced long red chiles (optional)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, for serving
  • Sliced cucumbers, for serving (optional) (see headnote)
  • Sliced tomatoes, for serving (optional) (see headnote)

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

Cover, remove from the heat and let sit until the chicken is cooked and registers at least 165 degrees on an instant-read 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 NOTES).

In a medium skillet over medium heat, stir together the base genep, coconut milk, 2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid and the remaining lime leaf, and bring to a simmer.

Add the chicken, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Adjust the 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. Add the lime juice, taste, and season with more sugar, salt and/or lime juice, if desired. Stir in the bell pepper and chiles, if using, until combined and remove from the heat. Remove the lime leaf.

Divide the chicken among shallow bowls and serve with rice and vegetables.

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

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

Recipe Source

From food writer Pat Tanumihardja.

Tested by Jim Webster.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 334

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 14g 22%

Saturated Fat: 6g 30%

Cholesterol: 73mg 24%

Sodium: 371mg 15%

Total Carbohydrates: 24g 8%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 1g

Protein: 26g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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