Ambila Chicken

The cuisine of the island of Madagascar, where lies the City of Ambila, is not widely known, but it is intriguing in that it may well be the first example of truly international cooking. The island was first populated by colonists from Indonesia about one and a half thousand years ago. They subsisted on local foods and items that they had brought from the east. Five hundred years later African immigrants added a whole lot more stuff, and then five hundred years after that Europeans expanded the larder even more, then from 1896 to 1958 it was ruled by France: need I say more?


4-6 leaves silverbeet.

1 large onion, peeled and chopped.

6 garlic cloves, peeled and diced.

2 tblsp sweet chilli sauce.

¼ cup cashew nuts.

1 tsp Thai fish sauce.

2 tblsp crystallised ginger.

1 tsp turmeric.

Salt to taste.

1 160ml can coconut milk.

Juice and zest of a lemon.

1 tablespoon soy sauce.

1 tablespoon sugar.

¼ cup cooking oil.

300g diced lean chicken meat.

1 ½ cups sliced, cooked green beans.



Remove the stalks from the silver beet leaves and chop them up. Combine them with the onion, garlic, chilli sauce, cashew nuts, fish sauce, ginger, turmeric, salt and the coconut milk in a bowl. Zap with a kitchen wand to a thick paste and set aside. Chop up the silverbeet greens, and place them with the lemon juice and zest, soy sauce and sugar in a small, airtight container and shake well. Set aside, turning and shaking now and again until required.


Heat the ¼ cup of oil in a sauté pan over a hot flame and stir fry the meat until sealed all over. Add the spice paste, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook slowly and gently for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the meat is well done.

Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 3-4 hours. Stir in the spinach mixture and the beans, heat through until bubbling then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes. Serve with boiled rice on the side.

Serves: 2.



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