Here's my entry for Merdeka Open House 2012: Uniquely Malaysia... Bubur Lambuk Ayam (Spicy Chicken Rice Congee). As I've mentioned in the Ramadhan recipe - Bubur Lambuk Ayam courtesy of Chef Fazli of Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton; Bubur Lambuk is a dish that is hard to forget. Once you've tasted it, you'll crave for more. This rice congee dish usually gets very popular during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan. The local community will congregate at the nearby mosques and cook up huge pots of this spicy rice congee to be distributed around to be served during breaking fast.
I was lucky to have tasted the famous version distributed by Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru and that was before it was crowned Bubur Lambuk Agong by the late Sultan Salahuddin of Selangor! Whilst I was researching on the net, it seems like different states would have their own version of Bubur Lambuk. Terengganu's version have shredded leafy herbs added, while the northern states like Kedah would have seafood added. Johor's version has dried shrimps and vegetables added.
The recipe is very simple, just like normal way of making rice congee, just that need to fry up the aromatics and spices before adding the rice and water. I've tried to use Chef Fazli's recipe but as I was measuring up the amount of spices, I find that it was wayyy too much for our tastebud. So I've reduced the spices and increased the rice in order to serve up a recipe for 3 - 4 servings. Traditionally beef is used but it's a hard to source ingredient in my area so I've used chicken instead.
So here's my take of Bubur Ayam Lambuk which Capt'n Hook and BoiBoi gave thumbs up. The aromatic and spices taste was just nice and not overpowering. Just like how I've remembered it to be ;-)
Bubur Lambuk Ayam
3 - 4 servings
220 g rice, washed and drained
300 g minced chicken, mix in a pinch of salt and white pepper
2 Tbsp oil
60 g (1 medium sized) onion, sliced into thin half rings
3 cloves (20 g) garlic, chopped
2 cm (20 g) young ginger, shred thinly
2 lemongrass, bruised
1/2 Tbsp (20 g) star anise
20 g cinnamon sticks
1/2 Tbsp (20 g) cardamon, pound a little to release the seeds
1/2 Tbsp (20 g) cloves
1/2 Tbsp (20 g) corriander seeds
2 Tbsp oil
1.5 Litres water
4 x 250 ml hot water (depends on the rate your type of rice absorbs water)
100 ml thick coconut milk
Salt and grounded white pepper, to taste
A pinch of sugar
40 g fried shallots
30 g Chinese celery (daun sup/ketumbar), sliced finely
30 g spring onion, sliced finely
20 g red chilli, optional
In a pot, pour in 2 Tbsp oil. Once heat up, add in the minced chicken. Fry till the meat is lightly browned. Loosen the meat when you stir them along. Dish up and set aside.
In the same pot, add in remaining 2 Tbsp oil. Fry (A) until fragrant and onion a little brown on the edges before adding (B). Stir and fry till the spices are aromatic before adding the rice. Stir to mix well. Pour in the 1.5 litres water.
Let it come to a boil before turning down the heat to medium low. Stir occasionally to prevent from sticking at the bottom. Now, the tricky part... once you noticed the water is almost dry down, pour in 250 ml of hot water. Continue to do this and add water until the rice is all broken up ala Cantonese style. I have to do this 4 times in total. The family prefer thick congee so that's how I've cooked mine. So you'll have to adjust the water level according to your liking. There's no hard or fast rules for cooking rice congee. In between adding the water, add in the cooked minced chicken. Adjust seasonings accordingly.
Towards the end, just remember to keep a close watch and stir the congee once in a while. Once done, turn off the heat and serve while it's hot. Topped with garnishes before serving.