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Crispy Fragrant Chicken

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I've been trying to learn how to cook Indonesian dishes with little success. I find it difficult because I'm not familiar with most of the ingredients and the proportions and how they should taste. I don't usually follow cookbooks to the letter. I try to add spices or change the proportions. So far I've tried Ikan Bilis, Nasi Goreng Ayam, Pecel with Peanut Sauce a few times. Something's always wrong with them. Today I decided to try Crispy Fragrant Chicken.


1 whole chicken cut into serving portions
2 salam leaves (optional)
1 stalk lemongrass, tender inner part of bottom third only, bruised and cut in 3 pieces
Oil for deep frying

Spice Paste:
5 candlenuts or macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 cm (2in) fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt

To make the spice paste, dry fry the candlenuts or macadamia nuts, coriander and cumin seeds in a skillet or wok over low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Grind them in a blender or food processor until fine, add the galangal, turmeric powder, garlic and salt and grind to form a smooth paste. Add a little water if needed to keep the mixture turning.

Put the spice paste in a wok or frying pan with a lid. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry over medium heat to coat with the spice paste, then add the salam leaves, if using, and lemongrass. Cover the pan and simmer slowly over low heat, turning the chicken peices from time to time, until all the moisture is absorbed and the chicken pieces are tender, 30-35 minutes. Remove and discard the lemongrass and salam leaves.

Heat the oil in a wok until very hot. Add several chicken pieces, with the spices still coating the outside, then deep-fry over high heat until golden brown about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm while frying the remaining chicken peices.

I basically followed everything except for the salam leaves and the lenmograss which I forgot. I used almonds instead of candlenuts and coriander and cumin powder instead of seeds. Also I added juice of 2 calamansi, 5 pieces chilli and a little Knorr original seasoning.

Finally, P said it was good. Finally!


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