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Ayam dan Tahu Bacem - Javanese Deep-Fried Chicken and Tofu

Simmer a big batch of chicken and tofu on the days you have the time to cook. On busy days, fry small batches as needed, and you have a delicious meal ready in minutes.
Ayam dan Tahu Bacem - Javanese Deep Fried Chicken and Tofu

Ayam dan Tahu Bacem - Javanese Deep Fried Chicken and Tofu

Bacem is a Javanese deep-fried dish of chicken, tofu, or tempeh. The cooking method started as a means to preserve food. Chicken, tofu, and tempeh are first simmered in spice broth until fully cooked, tender, and the spices absorbed.

The cooked proteins last much longer compared to uncooked ones, and they can be stored in the fridge for future consumption.

On the day you plan to serve the dish, return the cooked chicken, tofu, and tempeh to room temperature. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown and crispy on the outside, but still tender and juicy inside.

I serve bacem with some sambal terasi mixed with Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) and a squeeze of lime.

Ingredients for ayam dan tahu bacem: chicken, tofu, palm sugar, candlenuts, coriander, salt, shallots, garlic, daun salam, and galangal.

Ingredients for ayam dan tahu bacem: chicken, tofu, palm sugar, candlenuts, coriander, salt, shallots, garlic, daun salam, and galangal.

Ingredients for Javanese deep-fried chicken and tofu

We will need chicken, firm/extra-firm tofu, shallots, garlic, candlenuts, coriander, galangal, palm sugar, salt, daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves), coconut water, and water.

Chicken

For the chicken, it is traditional to use one whole chicken cut up into 8-12 pieces. Or you can use all drumsticks or a mix of thighs and drumsticks.

Ingredients substitution

Since some of the ingredients can be harder to procure, I’ll list their substitutes should you need them.

  • replace shallots with onion
  • replace candlenuts with macadamia nuts
  • replace galangal with ginger
  • replace palm sugar with brown sugar
  • omit Indonesian bay leaves if you can’t find them
  • replace coconut water with water
(1) Grind spices. (2) Boil spice paste, daun salam, palm sugar, salt, coconut water, and water. (3) Add chicken and tofu. (4) Simmer until the sauce reduces.

(1) Grind spices. (2) Boil spice paste, daun salam, palm sugar, salt, coconut water, and water. (3) Add chicken and tofu. (4) Simmer until the sauce reduces.

Step 1: Cook chicken and tofu in broth

1. Prepare spice paste

Grind shallots, garlic, candlenuts, and galangal in a food processor into a smooth paste.

2. Mix spice broth

Transfer spice paste into a soup pot. Add coriander, palm sugar, salt, Indonesian bay leaves, coconut water, and water. Stir to mix.

3. Boil chicken and tofu

Add chicken and tofu into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, partially covered with a lid, until the sauce reduces, the chicken and tofu are tender.

4. Strain chicken and tofu

Strain chicken and tofu until dry to touch before frying.

(1) Strain chicken and tofu. (2) Heat a pot of oil for deep frying. (3) Deep fry chicken and tofu until golden brown. (4) Strain fried chicken and tofu to remove excess oil.

(1) Strain chicken and tofu. (2) Heat a pot of oil for deep frying. (3) Deep fry chicken and tofu until golden brown. (4) Strain fried chicken and tofu to remove excess oil.

Step 2: Deep fry chicken and tofu

1. Heat a pot of oil

Place two to three inches of oil in a pot for deep frying. Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot. If you have a thermometer, wait until the oil reaches 170 Celsius (340 Fahrenheit).

2. Fry chicken and tofu

Fry chicken and tofu for about 2-3 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown and crispy.

3. Drain excess oil

Place fried chicken and tofu over a wire rack to remove excess oil.

Ayam dan Tahu Bacem - Javanese Deep Fried Chicken and Tofu

Ayam dan Tahu Bacem - Javanese Deep Fried Chicken and Tofu

Making ahead and serving bacem

The beauty of bacem is how they are easy to make ahead. You can boil the chicken and tofu ahead of time, strain, and store in the fridge in an air-tight container until ready to serve.

On the day you wish to serve the dish, remove as much chicken and tofu as you need from the fridge and return them to room temperature. Prepare a pot of oil and deep fry them right before serving.

Ayam dan Tahu Bacem - Javanese Deep Fried Chicken and Tofu

Ayam dan Tahu Bacem - Javanese Deep Fried Chicken and Tofu

Ayam dan Tahu Bacem - Javanese Deep-Fried Chicken and Tofu

5.0 from 1 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins

Serves: 8

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken, cut into 8-12 pieces, or use a mix of drumsticks and thighs
  • 1 firm/extra-firm tofu (1 lb/450 gram), cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 75 gram palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (Indonesian: bubuk ketumbar)
  • 500 ml (2 cup) coconut water
  • 500 ml (2 cup) water
  • Spice paste
  • 150 gram shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 5 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 5 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
  • 1 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
  • Accompaniment
  • shrimp paste chili sauce (Indonesian: sambal terasi)
  • sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Prepare spice broth: Grind shallots, garlic, candlenuts, and galangal in a food processor into a smooth paste. Transfer spice paste into a soup pot. Add coriander, palm sugar, salt, Indonesian bay leaves, coconut water, and water. Stir to mix.
  2. Boil chicken and tofu: Add chicken and tofu into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, partially covered with a lid, until the sauce reduces, the chicken and tofu are tender. About 45 minutes.
  3. Strain chicken and tofu: Strain chicken and tofu until dry to touch before frying.
  4. Heat oil: Place two to three inches of oil in a pot for deep frying. Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot. If you have a thermometer, wait until the oil reaches 170 Celsius (340 Fahrenheit).
  5. Fry and drain: Fry chicken and tofu for about 2-3 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown and crispy. Place fried chicken and tofu over a wire rack to remove excess oil.
  6. Serve: Serve fried chicken and tofu immediately with the accompaniments and steamed white rice.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • Reichel Wellswim Reichel Wellswim says:

    LOVED THIS RECIPE!! Such a great substitute, my family in law that isn’t vegan also loved them!! Such a fun process too!!

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