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Kare Ayam Jawa - Javanese Chicken Curry

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

Kare Ayam Jawa - Javanese Chicken Curry

Kare Ayam Jawa - Javanese Chicken Curry

4.7 from 3 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 8

Print Recipe


  • 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)
  • Garnish
  • deep fried shallot flakes (Indonesian: bawang merah goreng)


  1. Heat oil in a wok and sauté spice paste until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken, and cook until no longer pink.
  3. 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.
  4. Turn off heat, transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with deep fried shallot flakes, and serve with steamed white rice.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • deni kurniawan deni kurniawan says:

    I came from Indonesia, and I really like this food. Thanks for sharing.

    • Anita Anita says:

      You are welcome Deni.

  • Ari Ari says:

    Whaaa...? Kare and kari... not the same thing?@o@

    • Anita Anita says:

      I know right? I was just as flabbergasted.

  • Mina Mina says:

    I am from Iran. I live Indonesia. This recipe is excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  • rere rere says:

    just tried, it was excellent my kids love it...btw kari is from india but kare is from indonesia, kari can be served as fish kari, lamb kari chicken kari beef kari but kare usually only work for chicken. anyway great recipe and hope to try your other recipe in future.

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