Ayam Goreng Kuning

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Poultry | Ayam Goreng

(Indonesian turmeric fried chicken)

Fried chicken is so popular in Indonesia that they have their own franchise chain called "Mbok Berek," sort of like an Indonesian KFC. The similarities end there though. Indonesian fried chicken is first marinated and then simmered in a flavorful mixture of spices and herbs. Only then is it fried to golden, crispy perfection.

Image Creative Commons by fitri-agung

There are countless variations to the basic recipe. Ayam goreng kuning, tinted a rich yellow (kuning) with turmeric, is one of the most popular. Other common variations are listed below.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • Garlic, minced -- 3 or 4 cloves
  • Coriander -- 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric -- 2 teaspoons
  • Bay leaves -- 2
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Water or coconut water (see Notes) -- 2 cups
  • Oil for deep frying

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the garlic, coriander, turmeric, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Refrigerate and marinate for at least one hour.
  2. Add the chicken, marinade and water or coconut water to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high flame. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool
  3. Heat the oil in a deep fryer, skillet or wok. Add the chicken pieces and fry until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  4. Drain the chicken on paper towels and serve hot or at room temperature with steamed rice and a simple salad. Skim any crumbs or crispy bits from the oil and sprinkle them over the chicken as a garnish.

Ayam Goreng Variations

  • Ayam Goreng Asam (Tamarind fried chicken): Reduce turmeric to 1 teaspoon. Mix 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste with 1/4 cup warm water. Strain and add to the marinade.
  • Ayam Goreng Belacan (Shrimp paste fried chicken): Reduce turmeric to 1 teaspoon. Add 1 tablespoon of shrimp paste (belacan) to the marinade.
  • Ayam Goreng Kalasan (Kalasan-style sweet fried chicken): Reduce turmeric to 1 teaspoon. Add 1 tablespoon of minced galangal and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar to the marinade. Serve with a red chili-garlic sauce.
  • Ayam Goreng Lengkuas (Galangal fried chicken): Reduce turmeric to 1 teaspoon. Add 3 tablespoons of minced galangal to the marinade.
  • Ayam Goreng Mentega (Butter fried chicken): Marinate the chicken in 2 tablespoons of ginger, 2 tablespoons of garlic, salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in a little oil until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken to a plate and pour off any extra oil. Add to the pan 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons kecap manis or brown sugar and the juice of 2 limes. Add back the chicken, cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
  • Lower-Fat Version: Bake the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes in a 350°F oven instead of frying.
  • Other Marinade Additions: Other ingredients are often added to the marinade. Make your own custom marinade with any or all of the following additions: 1 stalk of lemongrass, white part only, crushed; 5 or 6 ground candlenuts, cashews, hazelnuts or macadamia nuts; 2 or 3 minced red chilies, 2 or 3 teaspoons of minced fresh ginger; 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut.
  • Substitute coconut milk for some or all of the water or coconut water.
  • Toss the simmered chicken with 1/2 cup of cornstarch before frying for a crunchy, crispy coating.

Notes

  • Coconut water is not the same thing as coconut milk. Coconut water is the clear liquid in the middle of fresh coconuts, while coconut milk is made by soaking shredded coconut meat in water and squeezing out the result. Coconut water can often be found in Asian or Latin markets as a canned beverage. If it is unsweetened, you can use this for cooking.
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