A mild dish without chilies but redolent of coriander, lemongrass, salam leaves and galangal, Opor Ayam is a universal favorite in Indonesia.
- 3 cups (750 ml) thin coconut milk
- 1 fresh chicken (2 lbs/1 kg), cleaned and cut into serving pieces
- 1 stalk lemongrass, thick bottom third only, outer layers discarded, inner part bruised
- 2 salam leaves or bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) thick coconut milk
- 5 macadamia nuts or candlenuts, roughly chopped
- 1 in (2 ½ cm) fresh galangal, peeled and sliced
- 3 shallots, peeled
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds or 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon shaved palm sugar or dark brown sugar
Make the Spice Paste by grinding all the ingredients to a smooth paste in a mortar or blender, adding a little coconut milk if necessary to keep the mixture turning.
Bring the thin coconut milk and Spice Paste to a boil over high heat in a wok or large saucepan. Add the chicken pieces, lemongrass, mix well and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has reduced by a third. Finally add the thick coconut milk, simmer for 5 more minutes and remove from the heat.
Transfer to a serving casserole and garnish with fresh chilies if desired.