Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lemon Grass Turmeric Chicken - Ayam Kuning

After Fitzie is born, we rarely eat out. We still do but not with the gusto that we had. One of the reason is because bringing a baby is really not easy. So I cook more and try to replicate many intricate Indonesian delicacies and I must say most of times it's a success. For a Chinese born Indonesian like me Indonesia food is like a mystery with all those tons of spices. I used to take a short cut and bought packets of instant spices and use it whenever hubby wanted his Javanese food. But now I can proudly say bye bye bumbu indofood and hello fresh spices and dishes free of benzoate. 

The reason I felt so proud about this recipe is because my mom, like me also Chinese born Indonesian, never cook this from scratch at home. Yes we have Ayam Kuning very often at home but it's because my mom always bought in the wet market and deep fried it for us. Whenever she went to the wet market she bought 10-12 pieces and keep it in the fridge. It's her emergency dish whenever she needs something to round up the dinner table. I never asked her, why she never bothered to cook it from scratch. Don't get me wrong. She's a superb cook but she specialized in South East Asian Chinese Cooking. Her dried shrimp fried rice and crabs simmered in tauco are two dishes impregnated deep inside my mind. I can describe them so precisely and vividly even after all these years. 

My take on this ayam kuning is the one without deep frying. I hate deep frying, all those mess and smell. And ayam kuning tastes good even without so why bother. But that's me, deep fry them if you want please and you will be rewarded with crispy skins. 

Lemon Grass Turmeric Chicken - Ayam Kuning

1 Whole Chicken - 1,3 kg cut them into smaller pieces
3 - 4 stalks Lemon Grass, cut them into smaller sections
Basil leaves for decorating
Vegetable oil 

Grounded Spices:
10 shallots
5 garlic
2 chilies
6 kemiri nuts
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tsp vegetable oil

The processes are simple.
Ground all those spices in a food processor. When you see it has become yellow mud then it's done. I think I ground mine for 2 minutes. 

Then heat up a pan or dutch oven, pour in generous amount of vegetable oil.

Put in the lemon grass, fry them for 1 minutes or two till you smell wonderfully lemony smell in the kitchen then pour in the grounded spice and fry them for some more them time

Fry them till the spices has become darker and your kitchen smell aromatically. Then put the chicken pieces with their skin side directly on the hot pan and cover. 

Lower the heat and let it simmers. If it's too dry pour in 1 glass of water. Taste, I find 1 tsp of salt is not salty enough so most of times I add another 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of salt again. 

That's all actually. It's basically done. Simmers for some time until the oil from the chicken comes out automatically and the sauce has thickened. Serve them with steamed rice and slicec cucumber. 

If you want to do an extra work, take out the chicken and deep fry them. The sauce can be recycled by putting pieces of tofu and tempeh. Simmers the tofu and tempeh in the sauces for around 20 minutes and you can deep fry the yellowish tofu and tempeh too. Personally I don't bother, I like to drench my rice with the sauce so I never even bother to recycle them.

Happy Cooking

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