Indonesia is a big country with varied dishes from each of the thousands of islands scattered in the archipelago. It seems that it will take me more than a life time to learn everything there is to learn about my own country’s cuisine. Until very recently, I didn’t even realize that for a Javanese, a kare is not the same as a kari! Apparently a kare is a very close cousin of an opor with the addition of turmeric so the dish should have a yellow color instead of white, and a kari is well, kari, and not a Javanese dish.
Kare Ayam Jawa - Javanese Chicken Curry
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 8 pieces of bone-in chicken (I use all drumsticks)
- 6 cups thin coconut milk (or use 5 cups water + 1 can coconut milk)
- 3 bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
- 2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised and knotted
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa), or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon tamarind juice (Indonesian: air asam Jawa)
- Grind the following into spice paste
- 100 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
- 4 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
- 6 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
- 1 inch ginger (Indonesian: jahe)
- 1 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (Indonesian: bubuk kunyit)
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder (Indonesian: bubuk jinten)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (Indonesian: bubuk lada)
- deep fried shallot flakes (Indonesian: bawang merah goreng)
- Heat oil in a wok and sauté spice paste until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add chicken, and cook until no longer pink.
- Add thin coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
- Turn off heat, transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with deep fried shallot flakes, and serve with steamed white rice.