Air Fryer Ayam Goreng Berempah (Spiced Fried Chicken) with Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice)

I have to say we are pretty pleased with our new air fryer so far. Last night, we made ayam goreng berempah or spiced fried chicken, and the chicken is cooked to perfection as usual, without much effort on our end. We served the chicken with a simple but delicious meal of nasi lemak (coconut rice) and some of its common accompaniments like sambal, peanuts, a hard-boiled egg, and plenty of fresh cucumber. Yum!

*Please note that we are currently minimizing our salt intake, so I reduce it or cut it out when I can. You can adjust the salt amount to your preference – that’s the beauty of making your own food. :)

Spiced Fried Chicken
5 dried chilies (some are on the smaller side and I would count 2 smaller ones as 1 chili), stem and seeds removed, and soaked in warm water until softened
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 yellow onion (from your typical 3lb bag), peeled and cut into large chunks
3 slices peeled fresh ginger (about 2 inches in length and 1/4 inch thick)
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces (I use the bottom part of the stalks and save the upper part to flavor the coconut rice)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
6 chicken drumsticks (about 1-3/4 pounds)

Place chilies, garlic, onion chunks, ginger, lemongrass, salt, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in work bowl of food processor; process until finely chopped, stopping as necessary to scrape down sides of bowl. Combine processed mixture with chicken drumsticks in a dish, cover, and marinate overnight in the fridge.

When ready to cook, preheat air fryer to 400F (I use the “Roast” preset function of my air fryer, which cooks the meat at the default temp of 400F for 25 minutes). Pour the remainder 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a shallow dish. Place chicken pieces, one at a time in the oil (keeping as much of the spice mixture as you can on the chicken), turn once to lightly oil the entire drumstick. Immediately transfer chicken to the air fryer basket, keeping them in a single layer. Cook for 24 to 25 minutes or until drumsticks are cooked through, turning halfway. Enjoy.

Coconut Rice
2 tablespoons oil
5 slices ginger
5 stalks lemongrass (I use the upper part of the stalks and save the bottom part to use in curry pastes, just freeze them until needed)
3 cups jasmine rice
1 (13.66 fluid oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 cans water (just use the coconut milk can)
3/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Heat oil in a heavy-based 3 or 3½ quart saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and lemon grass and cook, stirring occasionally until ginger is slightly golden brown and aromatics are fragrant. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, water, and salt (if using) and stir to mix. Cover and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked and tender (about 40 minutes). Remove saucepan from the heat source and let the rice rest, covered for at least 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.

I make another version of coconut rice that uses different aromatics, which I think I’m a little more partial to because it contains garlic and I do loooooooove my garlic, lol.

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