Pan Fried Belacan Chicken with Capers, Lemon and Garlic
I had this idea when I was researching for new recipes. I came across some dishes that use anchovies.
Well, I have replaced anchovies with belacan before. I cooked a stuffed pepper dish by Delia Smith and I replaced the anchovies with belacan and it tasted just as good. So I thought ‘why not?’ this time.
So I tried it and it came out good and smelly… which is the whole idea of belacan… somewhat like fish sauce but without the watery sauce. The main taste of this dish is salty, so do not be alarmed it you find it a tad salty. I have also reduced the oil used as I am trying to cut down the calories.
I tried it the second time and added some dried cranberries, but it losses the saltiness. I find I prefer the original without dried cranberries. I find that the chicken cooks more thoroughly when the thighs are not rolled up but open. However, the chicken will take much longer to cook. Just make sure that you check it carefully, ensuring that the juice runs clear.
This recipe is adapted from NYT Cooking
Time: 25 mins
500g Skinless and boneless chicken thighs ( about 4 to 5 thighs)
6 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 pc Belacan approximately 4cm x 4cm x 1cm
2 Tbsp. Capers, drained and pat dry
I pinch Chili flakes
1 Lemon, halved
2 Tsp. Extra virgin olive oil (4 Tbsp. of you are not counting calories!)
Freshly cracked black pepper
Garnish: Freshly chopped parsley
- Heat oven gas Mk 4, 180C.
- Season the chicken thighs with the pepper. (I do not recommend that you season with salt as the belacan is very salty. If you wish you can season the inside of the thighs and roll it up so that it is a nice round shape.)
- Chop the garlic and set aside.
- In an oven-proof pan ( if you do not have an oven-proof pan, use a non-stick pan and you can place the chicken thighs in an oven proof-dish to cook in the oven.).
- Over medium heat, add the oil. Heat the oil until hot, add the belacan and stir to break it up. Then add in the capers and chili flakes.
- Add in the chicken thighs and cook on one side until it is nicely coloured, about 6 to 8 minutes, swirling it around the pan without turning.
- When it is brown, turn over and cook the other side for another 8 to 10 minutes. Place the chicken in the frying pan in the oven. Or, lift and place the chicken in an oven-proof dish and put it in the oven for another 5 to 8 minutes until it is cooked,
- In the meantime, add the chopped garlic to the pan and fry the garlic till golden brown, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent burning. ( if you are using an oven-proof frying pan, you can only do this after you have taken the chicken from the oven.)
- Squeeze one half of the lemon into the pan and deglaze.
- Return the chicken to the pan and cook for a further 1 minute or so.
- Transfer to a serving platter , and squeeze the remaining lemon over the chicken and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
- Serve with vegetables and other accompaniments.
This goes well with pasta, too.