Grilled Sambal Oelek Chicken


I have a friend who once told me a story about how, many years ago, she roasted a chicken to impress her soon-to-be mother-in-law (during her inspection tour a few weeks before the wedding). It was a great success which, naturally, is not a good thing because it became a bone (ahaha!) of contention between the two women for the affection of the man. Not to be outdone, the soon-to-be mother-in-law also roasted a chicken the next day, but as all good tragicomedies must follow certain conventions, the maternal riposte didn’t measure up to the bridal benchmark. Long story short, the next few days became an arms race between the rivals of the boy’s affection and finally, my friend is still single.

And after hearing that story, all I can think of is roast chicken…

So I roasted me some. Grilled actually and I used a very old recipe (from my mom) using shallots, garlic, butter and Sambal Oelek. Basically, after browning the shallots and minced garlic, I combined the Sambal Oelek with some butter to make an overnight marinade. Remember to slide some under the skin for more flavor and moistness.

I love Sambal Oelek because of its versatility, ease of use and its rich and warm flavor. You can use it to spice up any stir-fry and is a quick and dirty way to get a tasty tasty Mee Goreng. 🙂


I decided to grill instead of roast because I wanted a nice, lightly-burnt crust of shallots and garlic but the standard timing (1-hourish) and temperatures (200-230 degrees Celsius) applies. Yes yes, halfway through, baste and flip the bird. 🙂

Rest the chicken for at least 10-15 minutes before tucking into, with a side of delicious burnt crunchy bits of shallot and garlic, a comfortable, non-competitive, no-pressure bachelor’s chicken.

Grilled Sambal Oelek Chicken With Pico de Gallo

Posted on 30th Jul 2009 in Meat, Recipes


There Are 11 Comments


yixiaooo commented on July 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Got to add though that a guy who can’t stand up for her is not worth getting together with.


sha commented on July 31, 2009 at 8:42 am

Looks yummy! Just to clarify, the shallots and garlic are not mixed into the butter and sambal oelek for roasting right? They are served at the side only?


ivan commented on July 31, 2009 at 10:13 am

@yixiaooo: I guess this is why I advocate a couple living together for a while before marriage just to see how things fit together.


ivan commented on July 31, 2009 at 10:19 am

@sha: Sorry for not being clear: they are all mixed in a pot. I browned the shallots with the garlic in a little oil before melting the butter and adding the Sambal Oelek in a pot.

(You should always melt butter with a little oil to prevent burning.)

If you are serving guests, you should remove and not serve the burnt crispy bits of shallots and garlic because it’s not presentable. But if eating alone… 🙂


ivan commented on July 31, 2009 at 10:28 am

Oh yes… for those who are using an oven to roast (as opposed to grill), preheat the oven to 240 degrees Celsius first. Just as you put in the chicken, reduce the heat to 200 degrees C. The initial high heat will crisp the skin up a little and cook the chicken as it cools slightly.

I used a small chicken, so 45 minutes was done. Remember to baste the chicken and halfway through, flip the bird over. At the end, if you like a crispier skin, flip the bird back and go to 240 degrees C for about 4-6 minutes (keep a constant watch as it will burn easily at this point).

You can’t flip larger birds ( 🙂 ) so place it on a wire rack for even cooking.

Rest the bird for at least 10 minutes (covered in foil and with paper towels to drain the oil) before serving.


[…] So I made Pico de Gallo by spending a meditative 15 minutes simply chopping, dicing and mincing corinader, mint, seeded cucumbers, white onions, tomatoes and garlic. Toss with salt and a healthy squeeze of lime and you have a highly acidic – summer tomatoes contain a lot of acid – Pico de Gallo which can be used as a tangy salsa (a Mexican thingy) dip, Ceviche marinade or a side salad for heavy stuff like the Sambal Oelek Chicken. […]


Colin commented on July 31, 2009 at 10:47 pm

That is very tragic! I’d heard of Chicken Rice Wars, but not Roast Chicken Wars…


ivan commented on August 4, 2009 at 10:33 am

All’s fair in love and war. But I do agree with YX that the man-child should have stepped in to defuse if not deescalate the situation.


yixiaooo commented on August 15, 2009 at 1:12 am




ivan commented on August 15, 2009 at 1:18 am

You’re up late… 🙂


[…] Coca as a great place for dinner, was invited to a photoshoot at Barracks at Dempsey and roasted a chicken with Sambal Oelek. The arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. by Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley […]

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