• Prep Time:
  • Cooking Time:
  • Serves: 3 Servings

Malay Barbecued Game Hens with Sweet Spicy Li

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Poultry

 Ingredients List

  • Stephen Ceideburg
  • 6 Cornish game hens
  • 10 Kaffir lime leaves, or fresh
  • -lime leaves
  • 6 Candlenuts, soaked in water
  • -for 10 minutes, or
  • -substitute skinless almonds
  • 5 Stalks fresh lemon grass,
  • -trimmed, sliced
  • 10 lg Shallots, peeled and halved,
  • -or 2 onions
  • 10 Garlic cloves, peeled,
  • -halved
  • 8 Red jalapeno chiles,
  • -stemmed,seeded
  • 1 ts Turmeric
  • 13 1/2 oz Coconut milk
  • 3 tb Sugar
  • 1 tb Salt
  • 1/3 c Vegetable oil
  • 1 Lime, cut into wedges


Traditionally, chicken is used for this dish, but Chris Yeo, chef-owner of
the Straits Cafe, and I experimented with Cornish game hens and came up
with this winning combination.

Cut hens in half, lengthwise. Pierce birds all over with a fork; set aside
in a large deep bowl.

The rempah: Fold the lime leaves in half, then tear off the central vein.
Cut the leaves into very fine shreds; set aside.

Combine the candlenuts, lemon grass, shallots, garlic, chiles and turmeric
in a blender or food processor; process into a smooth paste. If needed, add
a tablespoon or so of water to facilitate the blending.

Pour the spice paste into a large bowl. Before opening, shake the can of
coconut milk well. Then stir the coconut milk into the spice paste along
with the sugar, salt and lime leaf shreds; mix thoroughly. (Makes about 3
1/2 cups).

Pour 1 1/2 cups of the rempah over the birds; marinate at least 30 minutes.
Reserve remaining marinade. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Remove hens from marinade and scrape off excess marinade.

Place hens skin-side up on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Turn
off the heat and let birds remain in oven for 5 minutes longer. Remove from
the oven.

Meanwhile, set a wok over medium heat. Add the oil and the reserved rempah.
Gently fry the paste, stirring frequently, until it emulsifies with the
oil. Continue frying until fragrant and the mixture takes on a rich orange
color and a porridge-like consistency, about 8 minutes.

The rempah is ready when the oil seeps from mixture and has an orange hue.
(Spoon off and discard excess oil.) Keep sauce warm. Grill birds over
glowing red coals until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Pour the
sauce over the hens and serve with a squeeze of fresh lime.

PER SERVING: 795 calories, 84 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 44 g fat (16 g
saturated), 253 mg cholesterol, 965 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

TipsJoyce says that the 1/3 cup vegetable oil is *necessary* to get the
right result so don't skimp. To make the rempah, add the hardest
ingredients to the food processor or blender first and then the rest in
order of softness. A smooth paste is what you should end up with. She also
mentions that just prior to frying the rempah, you can fry up some fresh
chili paste to give the dish some zing. I'd us sambal oelek for this or the
Vietnamese tuong ot toi. No candlenuts? Use macadamias instead.

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