Mana Makan ‘rice cooker’ Chicken

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recipe: barbecued butterflied chicken with Pandan leaf, ginger, garlic, green onions stuffed under the skin – served on rice and garnished with chili sauce (click on image for more photos of chicken preparation)

mana makan chicken (sort of) As I mentioned a couple of days ago, we finally made Stephanie’s (Mana Makan) Rice Cooker Chicken Rice. But we don’t have a rice cooker. We were going to bake the chicken in our clay baker but it was such a lovely day that we decided we had to barbecue it!

After our bicycle ride around the city in search of red cayenne chillies (read more about that here), we triumphantly entered the kitchen to admire our purchases 1 and find out just what pandan leaf smelled like.

It smells like palm leaves! Slightly sweet and delicate. Quite pleasant. Not at all stinky as I had thought it might be from Stephanie’s description.

I washed leaves and vegetables as T butterflied the chicken. Then he rubbed it with salt and stuffed the green onions, ginger, garlic and knotted pandan leaves under the skin. Then into the barbecue it went over indirect heat – with soaked hickory chips over the heat source.

(click on image for larger view of of chillie sauce)
chillie sauce Then T made the chilli sauce. After that we sat outside in the garden, admiring the view and the wonderful aroma of wood smoke and roasting chicken, congratulating Stephanie (and ourselves) for what was going to be a spectacular dinner.

And indeed it was spectacular. The ginger, green onion, garlic and pandan leaf all lent a wonderful flavour to the chicken. The pandan leaf was definitely there – a lightly perfumed, pleasant delicate hint of je ne sais quois. And I think I already mentioned that the chilli sauce was killer!

But what was really fantastic was how crisp the skin was! I think we’re always going to have to stuff things under the skin of a barbecuing chicken. Whatever is stuffed under flavours the meat and pulls the skin away so any fat can get really crispy.

I know I already said this but we will definitely be making this again – with or without pandan leaf. It’s fantastic. Thank you once again, Stephanie!

Here is our take on her recipe:

Mana Makan ‘rice cooker’ Chicken
revised drastically to become Mana Makan ‘barbecued’ Chicken …


  • 1 medium chicken – 1.2 kg (2.6 lb)
  • 1 large piece ginger
  • 5 pandan leaves
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt

Chilli Sauce

  • 6 large red chillies
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • sea salt
  • pinch sugar
  • rendered chicken fat
  • ¼ lemon

Preparation of Chicken

  1. Soak wood chips (hickory) in water.
  2. Butterfly the chicken. Remove large pieces of fat from cavity and set aside. Rub the chicken with seasalt.
  3. Push roughly chopped garlic, green onion, chopped ginger under the skin. Knot the pandan leaves and push under the skin – one for each leg, 3 in the breast.
  4. Drain wood chips and place in an old cake tin. Turn on the barbecue and put wood chips over the heat source. Place the chicken on the other side of the barbecue (indirect heat!) away from the heat source. Cover as best you can with a lid – we use the lid from a roasting pan. Close the lid of the barbecue. Smoke that chicken!

Preparation of Chilli Sauce

  1. Use a pestle and mortar grind up the chilies, ginger and garlic with salt and a touch of sugar. Or, if your pestle and mortar aren’t large enough (ours isn’t…) use a small food processor.
  2. Heat chicken fat in a small pan til it is rendered. Pour hot oil overtop ground chillie mixture and stir well.
  3. Squeeze in lemon juice. (Compost the peel.)

Serve with steamed rice (Thai Jasmine) and steamed green vegetables. Place the green onions, ginger, garlic over the steamed rice along with spoonfuls of chilli sauce. (Discard the pandan leaves.) Garnish with coriander leaf if you have it.

(click on image for larger view of bowl)
salad bowl We couldn’t believe our good fortune. While we were wandering the city, trying desperately to find red cayennes, we bought this beautiful salad bowl at a charity lawn sale. (Very nice idea – all the proceeds from the sale were going to go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation).

We had no idea that the bowl was as nice as it is! I’m sorry that I didn’t take a photo of the bowl before we washed and oiled it. I bet the previous owners would be horrified that they only asked $1.75 for it!

Another bonus was the little bit of chilli sauce we had left over to go into chicken sandwiches for the next day’s lunch. Oh my!! From now on, no chicken sandwich will be complete without that chilli sauce!


This entry was posted in food & drink, main course, posts with recipes, spicy on by .

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