In the Balinese language, be siap mesitsit literally means “shredded chicken meat”, and is referred to in Bahasa Indonesia as ayam sitsit. This flavourful Balinese dish is made of boiled chicken, shredded into small stringy pieces, and fried with aromatic spices and herbs. It is served everywhere in Bali, in small neighborhood warungs (roadside stalls), at idyllic restaurants, as one of the dishes for nasi jinggo (rice with several side dishes, wrapped in banana leaves), in bus stations, or in a five-star hotel.
As I wanted to be as authentic as possible with the recipe, I did some field research before cooking this dish. I asked some Balinese people (including one of my colleagues, who has been really kind in answering all of my questions over the weekends) about the proper Balinese way of cooking it, and received quite a number of recipes. Each recipe is slightly different, but basically they all use the same main ingredients and the same cooking methods. So, based on all the information I gathered and my own experience and knowledge, I cooked be siap mesitsit. It turned out quite well!
If you wish to spend less time cooking this complex dish in one sitting, you can instead prepare the spice paste in advance. For this, turn to our recipe for base genep, which is a complete Balinese spice paste that can be used for many dishes, including be siap mesitsit.
For this recipe, I steamed the chicken instead of boiling it, in order to reduce the water content. Boiling is fine, too, and is the traditional way.
Serve be siap mesitsit with steamed rice. It’s spicy enough for most people, but just in case you need extra heat, sambal matah will be a great choice for an accompaniment. Play some Balinese music and you will enjoy a taste of paradise right in your home!Print
A Balinese favourite, be siap mesitsit or ayam sitsit is a delicious shredded chicken dish, stir-fried with aromatic spices. It is served at almost every Balinese restaurant, and is an iconic dish in Balinese cuisine.
- 500 gr skinless chicken breast
- 7 shallots, peeled, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
- 5 curly red chillies, chopped (or big red chillies)
- 5 red bird’s eye chillies
- 3 cm lesser galangal, chopped
- 1 tsp roasted shrimp paste
- 5 kaffir lime leaves, each shredded into two
- 2 stalks lemongrass, use only the white parts, bruised
- Salt to taste
- 0.5 cup water
- 4 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
- 1 kaffir lime juice
- Using a steamer, steam the chicken for about 25 minutes. When done, let it cool and shred the chicken. Set aside.
- Using a food processor or a blender, blend the shallots, garlic, chillies, lesser galangal and shrimp paste into a paste.
- Using a wok, heat the oil over medium high heat.
- Add the spice paste, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, saute until fragrant, around 5 minutes.
- Add salt.
- Add the shredded chicken, stir to mix with the spices.
- Add water.
- Lower the heat to medium flame and continue cooking until the liquids have evaporated, about 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle the lime juice and toss the spiced shredded chicken.
- Transfer the dish to a serving plate.
- The blended spices can be substituted with 2 tbsp base genep. Saute the base genep and add the herbs accordingly.
- You can substitute the curly red chillies with big red chillies.