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Ayam asam rong

This is a traditional recipe originating from Jerantut, Pahang, and has since spread to neighbouring areas in the state. It’s especially famous in Raub, where long lines form at nasi campur stalls that specialise in this spicy-sour lauk. Make it as hot as you can handle it. 

 

Tableware by Ilham Ceramic Studio.

Ayam asam rong

by Norsharidawati Salehud-din

This is a traditional recipe originating from Jerantut, Pahang, and has since spread to neighbouring areas in the state. It’s especially famous in Raub, where long lines form at nasi campur stalls that specialise in this spicy-sour lauk. Make it as hot as you can handle it. 

 

Tableware by Ilham Ceramic Studio.

Servings: 4

Ayam asam rong

Servings: 4

100g asam rong (also known as asam rom)

500g chicken, cut into pieces

Handful bird’s eye chilli/cili padi (or more), finely pounded

1-2 thumbs of fresh turmeric, finely pounded

1 small bunch turkey berries (terung pipit)

1 daun pijat (also known as daun kesing or daun cemomok)

½ sweet potato, sliced

2 slices asam gelugor

Salt to taste

Sugar to taste

Prepare the asam rong:

Check with the source from which you purchased the asam rong. Some sell it ready to cook, so you may not need to do any further preparation. Some families, however, prefer to soak the asam rong in hot water for 10 minutes and then drain it with a fine sieve. Note that this will affect the texture of the final product—unsoaked asam rong will make the gravy more viscous, and soaked asam rong will make it thinner.

To cook:

  1. Place the chicken, asam rong, chilli, turmeric and daun pijat into a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the chicken by about 2cm. Bring the pot to a boil. Scoop away any foam that rises to the top.
  2. Turn the heat down to a medium simmer. Once the chicken is about halfway cooked—about 10-15 minutes—add the turkey berries, sweet potatoes, and asam gelugor. Season with salt and sugar.
  3. Cook for about 20 minutes longer, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and cooked through, but not falling apart. Turn off heat and serve.

Tips

  • If daun pijat is unavailable, use daun kesum. Daun pijat smells as advertised, but it mellows out considerably into an allium-like scent when cooked.
  • This can also be prepared with whelks, crabs, or fish. 
  • Fresh turmeric can be substituted with turmeric powder.
  • Editor’s note: Asam rong can be difficult to find outside of Pahang. We got ours online from Shopee. As it is technically already a preserved ingredient, it lasts for months on the counter, and even longer in the fridge or freezer.

Ingredients

100g asam rong (also known as asam rom)

500g chicken, cut into pieces

Handful bird’s eye chilli/cili padi (or more), finely pounded

1-2 thumbs of fresh turmeric, finely pounded

1 small bunch turkey berries (terung pipit)

1 daun pijat (also known as daun kesing or daun cemomok)

½ sweet potato, sliced

2 slices asam gelugor

Salt to taste

Sugar to taste

Directions

Prepare the asam rong:

Check with the source from which you purchased the asam rong. Some sell it ready to cook, so you may not need to do any further preparation. Some families, however, prefer to soak the asam rong in hot water for 10 minutes and then drain it with a fine sieve. Note that this will affect the texture of the final product—unsoaked asam rong will make the gravy more viscous, and soaked asam rong will make it thinner.

To cook:

  1. Place the chicken, asam rong, chilli, turmeric and daun pijat into a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the chicken by about 2cm. Bring the pot to a boil. Scoop away any foam that rises to the top.
  2. Turn the heat down to a medium simmer. Once the chicken is about halfway cooked—about 10-15 minutes—add the turkey berries, sweet potatoes, and asam gelugor. Season with salt and sugar.
  3. Cook for about 20 minutes longer, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and cooked through, but not falling apart. Turn off heat and serve.

Tips

  • If daun pijat is unavailable, use daun kesum. Daun pijat smells as advertised, but it mellows out considerably into an allium-like scent when cooked.
  • This can also be prepared with whelks, crabs, or fish. 
  • Fresh turmeric can be substituted with turmeric powder.
  • Editor’s note: Asam rong can be difficult to find outside of Pahang. We got ours online from Shopee. As it is technically already a preserved ingredient, it lasts for months on the counter, and even longer in the fridge or freezer.

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© Copyright Periuk 2021

© Copyright Periuk 2021