If you’re looking to explore a traditional Indonesian delicacy that doesn’t overwhelm you with spiciness, you should give the lighter version of Indonesian chicken curry a try. With a shorter cooking time and simpler preparation compared to chicken rendang or kalio, the opor ayam recipe is a great choice. Curious about the taste? Check the full recipe here!
How Does Opor Ayam Look and Taste?
Opor ayam is basically a boiled chicken dish cooked with a traditional Indonesian spice paste and coconut milk. Yes, you read it right – there’s a spice paste involved, highlighting the Indonesian love for spices in everyday cooking.
This comforting dish takes center stage during Islamic religious festivities like Eid El Fitr and Eid Al Adha in Indonesia, alongside rendang. However, Indonesians often prepare opor ayam as a regular daily meal.
One of the reasons for its popularity is its versatility to be paired with Indonesia’s staple carbohydrate, rice, or traditional steamed rice cakes like lontong (wrapped in banana leaves) or ketupat (wrapped in woven coconut leaves). Additionally, you can enjoy this light Indonesian chicken curry with steamed potatoes as a substitute for the mentioned carbs.
It’s important to note that opor ayam comes in various variations, but the most common types are the white opor ayam (made with a lighter amount of coconut milk) and the yellow opor ayam, which gets its vibrant color from turmeric.
Apart from chicken, many people add complementary ingredients such as eggs, green beans, potatoes, or carrots. In this recipe, you’ll learn how to prepare the yellow Indonesian chicken curry.
Easy Opor Ayam Recipe For Spice and Chicken Curry Lovers
You’ll notice that the spice paste ingredients for opor ayam are similar to those used in other popular Indonesian dishes. While it may seem daunting to process all the spices to achieve the right consistency for the spice paste, making the one for opor ayam is actually quite easy.
- 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 partings, parboiled with 2 Indonesian bay leaves (salam leaves), and 1 lemongrass stalk to half-cooked (keep the broth)
- 500 ml thick santan (coconut milk)
- 3 kaffir lime leaves, remove the leaf’s bone by cutting it into half and slicing them lengthwise
- 1 stalk of lemongrass, pound the lower part and knot
- 500 ml chicken broth (if you don’t have much chicken broth, you can mix it with water)
- 2 or 3 Indonesian bay leaves (salam leaves)
- Mushroom bouillon powder to your liking
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 4 tablespoons of cooking oil (types of your choice)
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
Spice Paste Ingredients
- 10 shallots (bawang merah in the Indonesian language), peeled and chopped or diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds, ground after roasting them
- 5 candlenut, roasted
- 2 cm of peeled galangal (lengkuas in Indonesian language)
- 3 or 4 cm raw turmeric, peeled, chopped
- ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds (biji jintan in the Indonesian language)
- 2 cm of fresh and peeled ginger
- Sugar and salt to your taste
Additional Protein Ingredient of Your Choice
- 3 potatoes, peeled and diced, or
- hard-boiled eggs, or
- Veggies (green beans, carrot)
Cooking Utensils You Need
Proper knife, cutting board, food processor, or mortar, and pestle to grind and mix the spices, wok, and stove.
Step by Step To Cook Opor Ayam
1. Blend all the spice ingredients for the opor ayam spice paste until it becomes a fine and smooth paste.
2. Heat the cooking oil in a wok over medium heat, then add Indonesian bay leaves, pounded lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves until fragrant.
3. Once the aromatic scent permeates, add the spice paste, sugar, salt, and bouillon powder to your liking. Blend and stir-fry them together for several minutes (approximately 4 or 5 minutes) until a more aromatic fragrance evaporates.
4. Add the parboiled chicken to the frying spice paste and coat the chicken with the spice paste for several minutes.
5. Next, pour in the chicken broth and mix it well with the previous ingredients. Once they are mixed, pour in the coconut milk and stir to combine everything together. If you decide to enhance this opor ayam recipe with additional protein, you can add it in this process.
6. Now, cover the wok with a lid and bring it to a boil. Don’t forget to stir occasionally to allow the coconut milk to blend well.
7. Once it reaches the desired consistency, turn off the heat and serve the opor ayam. Sprinkle crispy fried shallots on top for an added umami taste.
How Soupy Should Opor Ayam?
Indonesian people have different preferences when it comes to enjoying this Indonesian chicken curry. You can choose to have a soupy version of opor ayam or let it simmer longer to reduce the liquid and achieve a thicker consistency.
The soupy version offers a lighter taste of spices and coconut milk. However, if you prefer a more intense flavor, you can make the gravy thicker.
The great news is that making opor ayam has become much easier now. You can simply purchase pre-cooked or instant opor ayam seasoning from Nyahtewel to save time and effort. Once you’ve experienced the taste, you can try making it from scratch.
- What to Eat Alongside Opor Ayam?
Opor ayam pairs well with a variety of condiments, but the best accompaniments are spicy ones such as sambal goreng or balado hati (beef liver with Indonesian chili sauce), kerupuk udang (shrimp crackers), Indonesian-style sautéed vegetables, kering kentang or kering tempeh (thinly crispy fried potatoes or tempeh coated with sweet and salty sauce).
- How Long Does it Take to Cook Opor Ayam?
The whole cooking process of this resep opor ayam Jawa (Javanese recipe of opor ayam) in this article takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
- Which Indonesian Region Originally Comes From?
The dish comes from the Java island of Indonesia. Popularly known as a Central Java and West Java dish, the recipe was influenced by Arabian and Indian cuisine.
- What Sets Opor Ayam Recipe Apart from Indonesian Curry in General?
Indonesian curry is known for its more complex spice ingredients. Moreover, it also contains curry leaves or Indonesian koja bay leaves (a bit different from salam leaves). The taste also usually has a spicy kick. The spice ingredients for opor ayam are simpler and it is not spicy at all.