Saturday, November 08, 2008

Grandma's Chicken Tempra

I've said it before and I'll say it again - my grandmother is a good cook. She doesn't do much nowadays, as she is slowing down with age, but in her day she really put tasty meals on her table.

My mother does use a few of her recipes. Not that many - my grandmother is a traditional cook, which means her recipes are generally from her head and she "agaks" everything, i.e. she flavours her food through instinct rather than bothering herself with writing down how many tablespoons of sugar or pinches of salt she requires. This chicken tempra recipe is one of her special dishes and, it appears, quite unique. Net searches for this recipe turn up one which is quite different from hers. But I guarantee that this recipe will knock anyone off their dining room chairs - it's that good.
6 Small Onions (shallots)
4 cloves Garlic
3-4 Cardamom
3-4 Cloves
3 cm Cinnamon
1 Star Anise
2-4 onions (depending on size)
4 tomatoes
1 chicken, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons tumeric powder
1 tsp salt
Chicken stock cube, black soy sauce, vinegar, sugar
1. Sprinkle the tumeric powder and the salt over the chicken, rub in. Fry chicken in frying pan. When done, place in pot.
2. Fry the small onions, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and star anise together till fragrant. Sprinkle over the chicken pieces in the pot.
3. Add water to frying pan to de-glaze. Add the water to the pot till about to cover the chicken (don't put too much). Add the stock cube, 1 lug of black sauce, 2 lugs of vinegar, and sugar to taste.
4. Cut the tomatoes and big onions into quarters. Add to the pot. Simmer till cooked and chicken is tender. Gravy should be thick.


  1. Hi there, I tried this recipe yesterday and it was delicious! Used chicken thighs (bone in, cut up into smaller pieces) instead of a whole chicken. Might have overdone the black sauce (thought it said 2 lugs instead of 1) but I adjusted the vinegar & sugar and it turned out alright.

    Thanks for sharing the recipes and stories of your family!

    1. Dear clearjade,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed the recipe. Yes, it is not really nec to be too precise in this recipe (who knows how much a lug should be, really) - just adapt as you go along, that's the nonya way :-)



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...