Opor Ayam Special for WHB #273

Hi there, long time no see. How are you doing?
Happy Nyepi (or Balinese Lunar New Year) for those who celebrate.

Last Monday I found a link to Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB) from Indonesia Eats; the link brought me to Haalo whose cook (almost) everything, whom managing the event. WHB was created by accident in Kalyn's kitchen, October 2005. And now, experiencing its 5th year, have been gathered food bloggers from all over the world in one community. Isn't it amazing?

Shortly after reading the recaps I decided to join the party this week, which is host by Yasmeen the health nut. So I spent almost the whole week sorting topics and opor ayam was the chosen one. It is an Indonesian chicken dish originated from central to eastern part of Java islands. This is usually served to enliven Eid ul-Fitr in our tradition.

Opor uses loads of ingredients that refined and poached along with coconut milk and, of course, the chicken. Among the ingredients are kaffir lime (Cytrus hystrix DC.) leaves that give a distinctive tangy trait to the dish.

The use of kaffir lime juice and leaves is quite popular in Indonesian cuisine—especially Sumatran, Javanese and Balinese—also in Malaysian and Burmese, as neutralizer the stench of meat or fish to prevent nausea.

Opor ayam.

Opor Ayam
(Adapted from The Best of Indonesian Cooking)

  • 1 small free range chicken (cut into eight or leave whole)
  • 1 lemon (squeeze the juice out)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seed
  • 4 candlenuts
  • ½ teaspoon white peppercorn
  • ½ teaspoon chopped turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped galangal
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 7 shallots
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cane sugar
  • 2 stalks lemon-grass (bruised)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 salam leaves (can be substitute with bay leaves)
  • 750 ml thin coconut milk
  • 250 ml thick coconut milk
  • a handful of lime basil leaves (optional).
  • Fried shallot for taste.

Preparation method:
  1. Soak chicken with lemon juice for 30 minutes then rinse off.
  2. Toast coriander, cumin and candlenut. Refine them using mortar and pestle, along with peppercorn, turmeric, ginger, galangal, garlic and shallot.
  3. Pre-heat a pan with oil. Add spice paste and stir until aromatic. Add tamarind juice, salt, cane sugar, lemon-grass, kaffir lime leaf and salam leaf.
  4. Put in the chicken until all coated with spices, add coconut milk. Continue to boil for 30 minutes, then add lime basil leaves. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  5. Serve in bowl, sprinkle with fried shallot.
Yield 2 serves.

Well, opor ayam had practically taken a great part of my childhood memories. It reminds me of my late grandmother who loved to cook this dish specially for me. A long nostalgic story it is, but I am not going to bored you with that. So.. have a nice weekend everyone!

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