Hed Chef

Roast chicken with a Peranakan twist

Roasted assam chicken.
Roasted assam chicken.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - The great thing about cooking is that one dish can inspire the creation of another.

Take this week’s recipe. I was inspired by Nonya ayam sioh, which is chicken braised in tamarind gravy.

Instead of braising the chicken, I decided to roast it.

The tang of the tamarind makes the dish extremely appetising and gives an interesting twist on the usual roast chicken.

I smeared the tamarind pulp directly on the chicken. You can rinse the pulp before use.

Usually, the pulp is soaked in water to extract the juice, but as I did not want excess moisture in the marinade, I skipped that step.

Just before putting the chicken to roast, be sure to remove the tamarind seeds as they are inedible.

You will need to balance the flavour with some sugar.

When roasting chicken, I usually keep the skin on because without it, the meat tends to dry out.

The fat from the skin will render as the meat roasts. You can always remove the skin before eating.

Roasted assam chicken


6 whole chicken legs
2 Tbs of assam (tamarind pulp)
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 Tbs dark soy sauce
1 Tbs sesame oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 lime, slice the top off



1. Coat the chicken pieces with the assam.


2. Add the coriander powder, black pepper, sugar, fish sauce, dark sauce and sesame oil. 


3. Add the garlic. 

4. Allow to marinate for at least an hour, ideally between three to four hours.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C.

6. Place chicken, skin side down, on roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes.

7. Turn over and roast for another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked.

8. Serve with the lime as garnish.

Serves six.