Chicken in Coconut Milk (Opor Ayam)

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2 1⁄2 hours 4 Servings Print RecipeEmail Recipe


1tablespooncoriander seeds
12 white peppercorns
1⁄4teaspooncumin seeds
1 clove
5 macadamia nuts
1cupshallots (minced)
3clovegarlic (minced)
1 piece fresh gingerroot (1/2-inch - pared and minced)
1⁄2teaspoonground turmeric
1⁄2teaspoonpowdered laos
3tablespoonvegetable oil
3poundbroiler-fryer chicken (whole)
4 stalks fresh lemongrass (lightly pounded)
4 citrus leaves
2 bay leaves
2cupcoconut milk
2tablespoonasem water


Grind coriander seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds and clove in mortar with pestle. Add nuts; grind until pulverized. Add shallots, garlic and gingerroot; grind to a paste. Stir in turmeric and laos. Heat oil in wok over medium heat; add paste. Reduce heat to low; stir-fry paste 5 minutes.

Tie chicken legs together with string. Add chicken, lemongrass, citrus and bay leaves to wok. Saute chicken over low heat, turning chicken frequently to coat with paste, until golden, about 10 minutes. Do not brown chicken. Stir in up to 1/4 cup water if needed to thin paste.

Heat oven to 300F. Stir coconut milk 1/4 cup at a time into paste in wok over low heat, stirring constantly to keep milk from curdling. Remove from heat. Remove lemongrass, citrus leaves and bay leaves to baking dish or Dutch oven. Place chicken on top; spoon sauce over chicken. Bake uncovered in center of oven, basting every 30 minutes, until juices run clear yellow when thigh is pierced with fork, about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Stir in asem water; season to taste with salt. Remove and discard lemongrass, citrus leaves and bay leaves.

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