When I was growing up, the primary cook at my household was my mum. Sometimes though, my dad would feel creative and concoct something new and random, and it always tasted good. However, this one particular dish, was the one dish we always asked him to remake every few months. It was always preceded by the thought, ‘Hmmm Dad hasn’t cooked in a while…. *yell out to him* Can you cook that chicken dish this weekend, you know with the lemon and kecap manis and lots of onions????’
For the record, I didn’t speak English until I was 12, so I didn’t say it like that. But you get the gist.
I’m not sure whether this was a recipe he found, or whether it was made up by someone else in the family, or whether he made it up himself. But this was his specialty. We didn’t really have a name for it. It was always just ‘that chicken dish, with the lemon and kecap manis and lots of onions’. I haven’t seen a similar dish out there, but if there is, I don’t want to know, and please don’t ruin my nostalgia.
When I moved out of their house, I made sure to ask him for this recipe to take with me, and whenever I made it, for some reason I always message my dad to tell him I’m cooking it.
Ingredients (for 3-4 people)
1 kg chicken thigh fillet*
2 brown onions, diced
2 red chillies, sliced (I like to leave the seeds in, but if you don’t like the hotness, you can remove them first)
1 cup kecap manis
1 cup lemon juice
*My dad would always use chicken thigh cutlets and drumsticks, bone-in and skin-on. However, the boy hates eating things with bones. So we went with fillets. With the thigh cutlets, I find that the meat is more tender at the end of cooking time, and plus the skin makes it taste better. However it does take longer to cook. Fillets are good if you’re cooking this mid-week, after work, when you don’t have much time.
Preheat your grill. Place the chicken on a baking tray and grill until brown.
Meanwhile, mix the onions, chilli, kecap manis and lemon juice. If it looks like too much for the amount of chicken, don’t worry, as this sauce is the BEST part.
Once the chicken is brown, take it out, pour the sauce on top, and return it to your grill oven. Grill until the sauce is boiling and the onions are soft.
Serve with rice and greens.
Tip: Remember when I said the sauce is the best part? Well I made sure to always drown my rice in this sauce 🙂 To be honest, I like to make too much sauce, so at the end of the meal, I save the sauce in a container to eat with leftover rice. Heaven!