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Kare Ayam Jawa - Javanese Chicken Curry

Here is an authentic Indonesian Javanese chicken curry made from scratch that is extremely easy to prepare! The rich savory sauce is perfect with steamed rice.
Kare Ayam Jawa - Javanese Chicken Curry.
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 a lifetime to learn about the cuisine of my own country.

Today’s lesson will be on the difference between kare and kari. Kare is a Javanese dish and a very close cousin of opor. Kari usually has a foreign origin that evolves and adapted into Indonesian cuisine.

Kare ayam Jawa has a thick and savory sauce that is just perfect with a bowl of steamed rice. The chicken is also very tender and almost falling off the bone. I guarantee you will be licking your plate clean and have a very satisfying meal out of this chicken curry.

Ingredients for kare ayam Jawa (Javanese chicken curry): chicken, coconut milk, shallot, garlic, ginger, galangal, candlenuts, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves), tamarind, cumin, turmeric, pepper, coconut palm sugar, and salt.
Ingredients for kare ayam Jawa (Javanese chicken curry): chicken, coconut milk, shallot, garlic, ginger, galangal, candlenuts, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves), tamarind, cumin, turmeric, pepper, coconut palm sugar, and salt.

Ingredients for Javanese chicken curry

1. Chicken

You can use one whole chicken cut into 8-12 pieces or 4-5 chicken quarters separated into thighs and drumsticks.

2. Herbs and spices

3. Coconut milk and chicken stock

I use 400 ml canned coconut milk and add chicken stock (or water) to get a total of 6 cups of liquid.

If you prefer to press coconut milk from scratch, you can use three presses (2 cups/press) from one coconut to get 6 cups total of coconut milk. You won’t need chicken stock if you choose this option.

4. Salt, pepper, and coconut palm sugar

(1) Sauté spice paste, cumin, pepper, turmeric, lemongrass, and daun salam. (2) Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. (3) Add coconut milk, chicken stock, tamarind juice, salt, and palm sugar. (4) Stir in kaffir lime leaves once the sauce is thick and the chicken is tender and cook.
(1) Sauté spice paste, cumin, pepper, turmeric, lemongrass, and daun salam. (2) Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. (3) Add coconut milk, chicken stock, tamarind juice, salt, and palm sugar. (4) Stir in kaffir lime leaves once the sauce is thick and the chicken is tender and cook.

How to cook Javanese chicken curry

1. Grind spice paste

Use a food processor to grind shallots, garlic, candlenuts, ginger, and galangal into a smooth paste.

2. Sauté spice paste and herbs

Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Sauté spice paste, lemongrass, daun salam, turmeric, cumin, and pepper for 3-5 minutes, or until fragrant.

3. Add chicken

Add chicken into the wok. Stir, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.

4. Add coconut milk and seasonings

Pour in coconut milk, chicken stock/water, tamarind juice, and season with salt and coconut palm sugar. Once it boils, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is tender and the sauce is reduced and thick.

5. Garnish and serve

Stir in kaffir lime leaves. Turn off the heat and transfer the curry to a serving bowl. Garnish with fried shallots and serve it immediately with steamed white rice.

Transfer curry chicken to a serving bowl and sprinkle with fried shallots. Serve immediately with steamed rice.
Transfer curry chicken to a serving bowl and sprinkle with fried shallots. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Kare Ayam Jawa - Javanese Chicken Curry

4.8 from 10 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories: 

Cuisines: 

Ingredients: 

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 8

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised and knotted
  • 3 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 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)
  • 1 whole chicken cut into 8-12 pieces, or 4-5 chicken quarters separated into thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 1100 ml (4 1/2 cup) chicken stock/water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice (1 teaspoon tamarind + 1 tablespoon water, massaged and strained)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
  • 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)
  • Garnish
  • fried shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah goreng)

Instructions

  1. Grind spice paste: Use a food processor to grind shallots, garlic, candlenuts, ginger, and galangal into a smooth paste.
  2. Sauté spice paste and herbs: Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Sauté spice paste, lemongrass, daun salam, turmeric, cumin, and pepper for 3-5 minutes, or until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken: Add chicken into the wok. Stir, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
  4. Add coconut milk and seasonings: Pour in coconut milk, chicken stock/water, tamarind juice, and season with salt and coconut palm sugar. Once it boils, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is tender and the sauce is reduced and thick.
  5. Garnish and serve: Stir in kaffir lime leaves. Turn off the heat and transfer the curry to a serving bowl. Garnish with fried shallots and serve it immediately with steamed white rice.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • 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.

  • Dee Lek Dee Lek says:

    Hello, nice recipe! No chilies?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Dee Lek, it doesn't require chilies, but you can also add 5-10 chilies when you make the spice paste if you love spicy dishes. :) You can use bird-eye chilies if you really love spicy dishes, or something milder like Fresno if you just want the dish to have a hint of chili. :)

  • Andrea Andrea says:

    This chicken looks delicious. Candle nuts are new to me. I'm going to see if I can find them around here and make this. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Roxana Roxana says:

    This looks so delicious. I love rendang and this has the same flavors. Waiting to try this soon.

  • Holley Holley says:

    I was looking for a meal that's a different than what I usually make and something spicy and flavorful.......this meal is exactly what I needed! Thank you for sharing this!

  • Tayler Ross Tayler Ross says:

    We've had these chicken curry for dinner several times, and it always turns out amazing! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  • Milky Milky says:

    I was surprised how easy this was- since I stockpile the herbs in the freezer and have started using a immersion blender and cup for making the pastes, prep is a breeze. I wanted some extra veggies on the side and I found that broccoli soaks up curry really well! Honestly, every curry recipe on this website is great- it's just a matter of what ingredients you want to use!

  • Penelope Penelope says:

    I love the flavors but my sauce did not thicken although I simmered for over half an hour. Did I miss something?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Penelope, the simmer time will depend on the heat of individual stoves. Some stoves have higher heat output and the simmer time will be shorter. That said, did you simmer with a lid on? If so, please simmer without covering the pot with a lid. Using a lid will significantly takes longer to reduce the sauce.

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