Bacem started as a mean to preserve food. Chicken, tofu, and tempeh are cut into pieces and cooked in spice broth until fully cooked, tender, and the spices absorbed. The cooked proteins lasts much longer compared to uncooked ones, and they are stored in the fridge for future consumptions. Prior to eating, return them to room temperature and deep fried in hot oil until golden brown and crispy on the outside, but still tender and juicy in the inside. My preferred method to eating bacem is to serve them with with some sambal terasi mixed with Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) and a squeeze of lime.
Ayam dan Tahu Bacem - Javanese Deep Fried Chicken and Tofu
- 1 free range chicken (Indonesian: ayam kampung/ayam penjantan), cut into 8 pieces
- 1 firm white tofu (Indonesian: tahu putih), about 300 gram, cut into 8 pieces
- 3 bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
- 1 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas), peeled and bruised
- 75 gram palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 500 ml coconut water
- 500 ml water
- Spice paste
- 10 shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah)
- 5 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
- 5 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (Indonesian: biji ketumbar)
- shrimp paste chili sauce (Indonesian: sambal terasi)
- sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
- lime wedges
- Place all ingredients (not including accompaniments) in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until chicken and tofu are cooked and tender, about 45 minutes. Turn off heat and remove the chicken and tofu from the pot and set aside.
- Heat enough oil for deep frying. Once the oil is hot enough, deep fry chicken and tofu until crispy and golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
- Serve with sambal terasi and steamed white rice.