How to Cook Sabah Rice Wine Chicken (Ayam Lihing)

Ayam Lihing is a Kadazan Sabah dish that uses chicken and local rice wine; Chef Elroy from Shangri-La Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu shows me how easy it is to prepare. This is the first in a series of 3 Kadazan Sabah dishes I learned during my recent trip to Borneo.

One interesting point of difference I picked up which was confirmed by Chef Elroy is that Kadazan cooks like to crush the spice ingredients eg. ginger, onion, lemongrass etc. rather than blend/puree them. They like to be able to bite and chew on these spices as part of the meal.


100 g Chicken thigh (cut into 2)
15 g Ginger, julliened
20 g Onion, finely sliced
10 g Lemongrass, finely sliced
80 ml Lihing (rice wine)
15 g garlic, finely chopped
1 pc bay leaf
15 g red chilli, cut and seeded
salt and pepper for seasoning


1) Prepare basic chicken stock.
2) Saute onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass in a pot.
3) Wait until it’s aromatic, then add in chicken pieces.
4) Pour lihing or rice wine after the chicken has been sauteed.
5) Add in 80 ml of chicken stock and simmer until chicken is cooked.
6) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7) Garnish with coriander and red chilli, then serve.

Ayam Lihing-

Ayam Lihing in Shangri-la Tanjung Aru

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