Chicken Cooked in Coconut Milk

Traditionally, the chicken pieces would be part-cooked by frying, but I think that roasting in the oven is a better option. Ayam Opor is an unusual recipe in that the sauce is white as it does not contain chillies or turmeric, unlike many other Indonesian dishes. The dish is served with crisp Deep-fried Onions.


serves 4
1.5 kg (3 - 3 1/2 lb) chicken or 4 chicken quarters
4 garlic cloves
1 onion, sliced
4 macadarnia nuts or 8 almonds
15 ml (1 tbsp) coriander seeds, dry-fried, or 5 ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
45 ml (3 tbsp) oil
2.5 cm (1 in) fresh lengkuas, peeled and bruised
2 lemon grass stems, fleshy part bruised
3 lime leaves
2 bay leaves
5 ml (1 tsp) sugar
600 ml (1 pint) 2 1/2 Cups coconut milk
boiled rice and deep-fried onions, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5. Cut the chicken into four or eight pieces. Season with salt. Put in an oiled roasting tin and cook in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the sauce.

2. Grind the garlic, onion, nuts and coriander to a fine paste in a food processor or with a pestle and mortar. Heat the oil and fry the paste in a wok to bring out the flavour. Do not allow it to brown.

3. Add the part-cooked chicken pieces to the wok together with the lengkuas, lemon grass, lime and bay leaves, sugar, coconut milk and salt to taste. Mix well to coat in the sauce.

4. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 - 40 minutes, uncovered, until the chicken is tender and the coconut sauce is reduced and thickened. Stir the mixture occasionally during cooking.

5. Just before serving remove the bruised lengkuas and lemon grass.

6. Serve with boiled rice sprinkled with crisp deep-fried onions.

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