April 18, 2011

Opor Ayam

(A-Z Blogging Challenge)
O is for Opor Ayam (Stewed Chicken the Indonesian way) 

I lived in Indonesia for eight years. At first I did not like Indonesian cooking. (*See story below).   But after awhile I developed a taste for it and eventually I enjoyed this recipe.  I still make it occasionally.

Recipe for Opor Ayam

1 large chicken cut into pieces
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp brown sugar
peanut oil as needed
salt to taste
1 med onion, crushed
2 med onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts or cashews, crushed
1/2 tsp shrimp or fish paste
1 tsp grated lime peel
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cups coconut milk
2 bay leaves

Mix the following together in a bowl:  crushed onion, crushed garlic, nuts, cumin, coriander.  Rub the chicken with the above mixture and then leave the chicken with the mixture in a covered bowl for half an hour.

Remove the pieces from the bowl and fry them in the peanut oil until they are half cooked.

Now fry the following ingredients in moderately hot oil:  chopped onions, chopped garlic, brown sugar, shrimp or fish paste, lemon juice, brown sugar, lime peel, salt.  When the onions are soft, add the chicken and also the remainder of the mixture.

Fry on the same medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and bay leaves.  Turn the heat to low and allow everything to cook .  It will thicken.

Serve this dish in a covered bowl or in a tureen.  Serve it with rice, of course!

*Story about one experience I had before I learned to like Indonesian cooking!

I was attending language school in Bandung, Indonesia with three other people.  We were headed for tribal work in Irian Jaya (See post, The Missionary and the Grub).  We would eventually be doing our work in the tribal language.  However, we needed to also learn Indonesian since it was the national language of the country.

Between semesters of language study in Bandung, we took a trip to the western part of the island.  We stayed at an Indonesian motel.

I did not yet enjoy very much Indonesian food.  So the first evening we ate dinner at the motel, my face lit up when I noticed "sandwiches" on the menu.  When I asked the server about them, she told me I was sure to like them as they were "Enak" (delicious).

While everyone else ordered Indonesian food, I ordered the sandwiches.  I thought I simply could not wait to devour a couple of delicious sandwiches once again.  I imagined what might be in those sandwiches.  Would it be chicken salad, some kind of sliced meat, cheese???

So when the sandwiches were brought to our table, what was between the slices of bread?  Rice!

My friends who ordered Indonesian food were also surprised.  When writing the order,  they had numbered the different kinds of food they wanted, like this:

1.  Ayam Surabaya
2.  Soto Babi
3.  Sate Udang
4.  Ikan Asam Manis

What they got was, one order of Ayam Surabaya, two orders of Soto Babi, three orders of Sate Udang, and four orders of Ikan Asam Manis!

Yes, those who loved Indonesian food really got their fill that evening!


  1. Cute story!

    I don't like many foods from lands foreign to me, but this sounds good. I about starved the year I was stationed in Japan (thank God for omi rice).

  2. Ha! That must have been a LOT of food!

    My “O” post: http://www.word-nerd-speaks.com/2011/04/old-mother-hubbard-economic-reality.html