Auntie Siti’s Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi

Written by: Kampung Eats 

assed down three decades, this dish has served as a family staple for Auntie Siti. Since she was 13 years old, her mother would often cook this dish for her - which she best enjoy with carrots and potatoes.

This popular dish, Ayam Lemak Chilli, translates to ‘chicken in spicy turmeric coconut curry’. Lemak, directly meaning ‘fatty richness’, refers to the creaminess of coconut milk. The steps are simple for beginners to follow, and the spiciness level is adjustable. Auntie Siti loves spicy food, hence the generous 20 pieces of chilli padi delivers that ‘kick’.

Auntie Siti learnt to cook this dish when she got married in her early 30s. Around this age, she picked up cooking while working at a canteen. With 3 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, this dish remains well-loved. She has taught her granddaughter the recipe to keep this family recipe alive.

Her mother emphasises that “The secret to making it more flavourful is to boil, not stir-fry the rempah”.

My sister and I preparing ingredients
Khao Yam, before mixing
Mr Chan
My dad, Chan

Adding tamarind flakes can bring out even more fragrance from the ingredients. Lastly, Auntie Siti shares a bonus tip: Any leftover coconut milk can be preserved in the freezer to use next time!

Auntie Siti's Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi

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Recipe by Siti Course: MainCuisine: MalayDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • To Blend
  • 20 pc chili padi

  • 1 inch turmeric

  • 1 inch ginger

  • ½ pc galangal

  • 2 stalks lemongrass

  • 10 shallots

  • 7 cloves garlic

  • 2 pc candlenut

  • 1 tsp coriander powder

  • 1 tsp cumin seed

  • Other Ingredients
  • 1 kg chicken

  • 200 ml coconut milk

  • 2 carrot

  • 1 cabbage

  • 2 tomatoes

  • 5 pc lime/lemon leaf


  • Add ingredients 'to blend' into a blender and blend till smooth
  • Heat pot on low-to-medium heat (do not need to add oil as the subsequent addition of coconut oil is sufficient). Transfer the blended mixture and stir until it boils, stirring occasionally to prevent burning
  • Add whole chicken into the pot, stirring until chicken juice releases
  • Add coconut milk, lime/lemon leaf, carrots and cabbage (optional: add tamarind flakes)
  • Leave to boil for ~20 mins or until the chicken is fully cooked

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With special thanks from the Kampung Eats team to Auntie Siti!

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