today is May 24, 2022

You will absolutely love this very simple yet delicious Nyonya/Peranakan chicken dish known as ayam tempra. The chicken is braised in lots of onion, and soy sauce-based sauce. It has that sweet, savory, slightly tangy, and spicy (if you add chili) taste that you will really enjoy. The recipe can be cooked on the stove or Instant Pot. Nyonya Ayam Tempra (Nyonya Sweet and Sour Chicken)

What is ayam tempra?

Ayam means chicken and tempra means to braise in Malay language. Ayam tempra is Nyonya/Pernakan style chicken dish characterized by its savory, sweet, tangy taste and dark-color sauce. The savory and sweet come from the dark and light soy sauce. The zing comes from the calamansi juice. Ayam tempra is also cooked in a lot of onion, which gives this dish its amazing aroma.

My easy version of ayam tempra

Traditional nyonya ayam tempra usually use bone-in, skin-on chicken cut into smaller pieces. I use boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe for simplicity and it’s also easier for my kids to eat. So, you are welcome to use whatever cut you prefer to make this ayam tempra. I also use Instant Pot pressure cooker to make this. You don’t have to use a pressure cooker. Ayam tempra can be easily cooked on the stove.

How to make Nyonya ayam tempra

1. If using boneless chicken, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. If using drumstick, leave them whole. If using bone-in thigh, you can cut into smaller chunks. Preheat oil on a large skillet or press saute mode on Instant pot. Add onion slices, garlic, and ginger. Saute until the onion is soft and slightly caramelized, about 3-4 minutes. I use yellow onion in this step-by-step photo, but I prefer red onion 2. Add the chicken pieces and chili (if using) and saute until they turn opaque but are not cooked through yet. Add the rest of the ingredients. Let it simmer over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. The time varies depending on the size of the chicken you use and whether bone-in or boneless. If cooking with Instant Pot, make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing gets stuck there. Turn off saute mode. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference. It should be savory, sweet, tangy, and a hint of spiciness if you use chili 3. Close the lid and turn the pressure vent to “sealing”. Set to “pressure cooker” and on high pressure. Set the timer to 3 minutes for boneless bite-size pieces. Set the timer to 5 minutes for bone-in small pieces. Set the timer to 10 minutes for drumstick. Release the pressure immediately after that. Have a taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference

Ayam tempra comes together so quickly that I love to make them often. My family just loves them. Nyonya Ayam Tempra (Nyonya Sweet and Sour Chicken)

Did you make this Nyonya ayam tempra recipe?

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Nyonya Ayam Tempra (Nyonya Sweet and Sour Chicken)

Nyonya Ayam Tempra (Nyonya Sweet and Sour Chicken)

Nyonya Ayam Tempra

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 10 mins

Total Time 20 mins

Servings 6 servings

Ingredients  

  • 800 gr boneless skinless chicken thigh you can use about 3 lbs bone-in, skin-on drumsticks, leg quarters,or 1/2 of chicken
  • 3 large onions thinly sliced, red onion is best
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 4 thin slices of ginger
  • 3 red chilies optional, seeded if you want and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar or more to taste
  • 3 Tbsp calamansi juice or substitute with lime juice
  • 1 tsp chicken powder
  • tsp ground white pepper
  • cup water 1/4 cup if using Instant Pot
  • Salt to taste

Instructions 

  • If using boneless chicken, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. If using drumstick, leave them whole. If using leg quarters, you can cut into smaller chunks. Preheat oil on a large skillet. Add onion slices, garlic, and ginger. Saute until the onion is soft and slightly caramelized, about 3-4 minutes

If cooking on the stove:

  • Add the chicken pieces and chili (if using) and saute until they turn opaque but are not cooked through yet. Add the rest of the ingredients. The chicken will slowly ooze out some liquid. Let it simmer over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. The time varies depending on the size of the chicken you use and whether bone-in or boneless. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference. It should be savory, sweet, tangy, and a hint of spiciness if you use chili

If cooking with Instant Pot pressure cooker:

  • Press "saute" mode. When it says "hot". Add cooking oil and onion and cook until the onion slices are soft and slightly caramelized, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and chili (if using) and saute until they turn opaque but are not cooked through yet. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing gets stuck there. Turn off saute mode

  • Close the lid and turn the pressure vent to "sealing". Set to "pressure cooker" and on high pressure. Set the timer to 3 minutes for boneless bite-size pieces. Set the timer to 5 minutes for bone-in small pieces. Set the timer to 10 minutes for drumstick. Release the pressure immediately after that. Have a taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference

Serving:

  • Serve immediately with cooked rice

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 307 kcal Carbohydrates: 20 g Protein: 27 g Fat: 13 g Saturated Fat: 2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g Trans Fat: 1 g Cholesterol: 127 mg Sodium: 565 mg Potassium: 489 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 14 g Vitamin A: 251 IU Vitamin C: 39 mg Calcium: 30 mg Iron: 1 mg