Chicken is a universal food, and everybody has his or her own favourite way of preparing it. Curried chicken dishes are popular whether from India or the Caribbean, but Indonesian chicken curry is not so well known outside of Southeast Asia.
Indonesia, with its fifteen thousand islands, covers a large portion of Southeast Asia, and in the early twenty-first century its population (209.4 million) ranked fourth among the world's most populous nations. Indonesia, with so many regional traditions and ethnic diversity, has one of the richest cuisines.
A while back I saw an Indonesian chicken curry recipe in a book entitled “The Encyclopedia Of Asian Cooking” edited by Jeni Wright, Octopus Books Limited, London, UK. 1980. I copied the recipe down but didn’t have all the ingredients such as candlenuts or Salam leaf so I made substitutions. It was different from other curries and quite delicious. My BW and I enjoyed it and finished the rest of it the next day, at which point it actually seemed to taste even better. The next time I made it I changed a couple of things, and I believe you will find this an exciting dining treat for a nice change of taste, perhaps during a weeknight. Once assembled it simmers awhile; you could set your timer and do something else while it cooks. Make a pot of rice to go with it.
One would think this curry would be better known, because everyone can agree that it is truly wonderful. I think you will as well.
Indonesian Chicken Curry (Kelia Ayam) serves 4-6
3 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 macadamia nuts, chopped
20 fluid ounces (600ml) coconut milk
1 tablespoon minced gingerroot
1 teaspoon ground red pepper (chili powder)
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch to coat the chicken
Put the chicken pieces in a bowl and sprinkle on the cornstarch and massage it in all over.
Put half of each of the first three ingredients in an electric blender; add just enough of the coconut milk (3 tablespoons or so) and blend until smooth. Repeat with the other half.
Heat a deep skillet or dutch oven and pour the blended ingredients into it.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir thoroughly while bringing to the boil and then simmer gently for about forty minutes. The sauce should be thickened now. If not, remove the chicken and reduce further. Taste for salt.
This is good served with steamed rice. Enjoy.