Opor Ayam or Chicken curry is basically a traditional Indonesian food that we have during the Moslem festive season: Hari Raya Lebaran. However, due to the popularity, the dish has turned into some kind of our national dish. So even though our family don’t celebrate the festival, during Hari raya my mum used to cook the dish and distributed it to our neighbors who were celebrating.
The chicken is cooked in a coconut soup and served with rice cake, it is really a simple but tasty dish. I’m not really a big fan of the dish, not because it’s not good, but more because it’s a rather filling dish. Normally after the meal, I would feel very sleepy and ended up sleeping right after lunch, a recipe of getting additional kg, huh?
Inspired by the look from the roast chicken in one of the French restaurant in SG : Poulet, I was thinking to pimp up the traditional look of the Chicken curry in Indonesia into something like roast chicken in Poulet. So here we go the pimped up chicken curry.
Things you need:
- 1 whole free-range chicken (cut into 8 pieces)
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 100 ml water
- 2 lime leaves
- 1 stalk of lemon grass
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Spices to be processed into paste:
- 8 pieces of candle nuts
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp of sugar
- 2 tsp of coriander seed powder
- 1/2 tsp of cumin
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of pepper
For the rice cake:
- 250 gr rice, washed
- 50 ml coconut milk
- 150 ml water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lemon grass
Things you need to do:
Put all spices into a pestle (or food processor), using mortar (or food processor) turn them into a fine paste.
In a large frying pan, pour in the oil and cook the paste until fragrant, add in the lime leaves, and lemon grass, cook them for a bit. Put in the chicken then continue to cook until the chicken is cooked on the outside. Pour in the coconut milk and water. At this point you can add salt, pepper or sugar to adjust the taste. Cook them all together for about 20 mins until the chicken is cooked through and the coconut soup is a bit thicken.
Optional step (you can skip it if you don’t want to do this- as the chicken is already cooked): Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Once the chicken is cooked, take the chicken out of the soup and put it into a baking tray. Take a few spoon of the coconut soup into a bowl and add in some sweet soy sauce into it to thicken the soup. Brush the chicken with the mixture. Grill the chicken for about 10 -15 mins until it is a bit brown on the outside. Then change the oven to broiler mode, broil the chicken for a bit until the skin is golden. Watch out not to burn it. Set aside once done. This grilling part is not the traditional method, but I did it because i want to have a nice golden color on my chicken skin. And also by doing this extra miles, you will get a rather drier texture compared to traditional one (which is more soggy and wet kind).
For the rice cake. Cook the lemon grass and bay leaf with a bit of oil until fragrant, add in the coconut milk and water, cook them for a bit then add in the rice. Once the water is gone, steam the rice in the rice cooker until fully cooked. I used my ring mold to cook the rice and shape it into cylinder. You can use the traditional way of using banana leaves to wrap the rice prior to steaming. If you steam it inside banana leaves, the rice would have some additional fragrant from the leaf. But since I’m too lazy for it, i just go with my ring mold.
Note: Before serving the chicken, I pan fried the rice with a bit of the coconut soup and make the sides a bit crispy.
Serve the chicken with the rice and the coconut soup.