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Opor Ayam

Opor ayam (chicken cooked in coconut milk) is one of the easiest Indonesian recipes you can try at home, and very delicious. Unlike many other Indonesian dishes, opor ayam is mild and chili free, making this dish a perfect introduction to Indonesian dishes.
Ingredients for Opor Ayam - Chicken in Coconut Milk
Ingredients for Opor Ayam - Chicken in Coconut Milk

Opor ayam (chicken cooked in coconut milk) is one of many Indonesian dishes from Central Java. Most families serve opor ayam and ketupat (rice cake in woven palm leaf pouch) to celebrate Lebaran (Idul Fitri, or Eid).

For more everyday occasions, you can spot opor ayam in a nasi gudeg meal set where the chicken is served with steamed white rice, gudeg (young jackfruit sweet stew), and sambal goreng krecek (crispy beef skin and chili stew).

Opor Ayam - Chicken in Coconut Milk
Opor Ayam - Chicken in Coconut Milk

Opor ayam is a child-friendly dish

Opor ayam is very mild compared to many Indonesian dishes. It has no chilies, making this dish very children friendly. I myself remember how this is one of my favorite dishes when I was a child myself.

Although many Indonesian serve opor ayam as part of a set rice meal, it is by no mean a must. It is perfectly acceptable to serve opor ayam with nothing else but a bowl of steamed white rice.

A side of sambal bajak or sambal terasi is, of course, a welcome addition to those who do love a bit of chili kick.

Opor Ayam - Chicken in Coconut Milk
Opor Ayam - Chicken in Coconut Milk

The long list of ingredients

Unfortunately, there is no avoiding the long list of ingredients in many Indonesian recipes. Luckily, if you are a fan of Indonesian dishes and plan to prepare Indonesian dishes often, the list of ingredients that you see in this recipe will appear again and again in many other Indonesian recipes.

Aside from daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves) and kemiri (candlenut), other ingredients appear regularly in many other Southeast Asian recipes, so they should be quite easy to find.

Opor Ayam - Chicken in Coconut Milk
Opor Ayam - Chicken in Coconut Milk

Make a proper Indonesian feast

If you are planning to serve opor ayam as part of a feast, you may want to prepare the followings too:

Opor Ayam

5.0 from 17 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe


  • 1 chicken, cut into 4-8 pieces (or use 8 chicken drumsticks)
  • 1 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), cut and bruised
  • 2 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
  • 500 ml water
  • 200 ml coconut milk (Indonesian: santan)
  • fried shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah goreng), for garnish (optional)
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 100 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 4 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 5 candlenut (Indonesian: kemiri) (or 8-10 macadamia nuts)
  • 1 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds (Indonesian: biji ketumbar)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (Indonesian: biji jinten)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon sugar, or to taste


  1. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a pot and stir fry the spice paste until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add lemon grass, bay leaf, and kaffir lime leaf and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and cook until chicken is no longer pink.
  4. Add water and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced, about 20 minutes. Add salt and/or sugar as needed.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with fried shallots.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • amallia amallia says:

    this is my favorite food...:-)

  • Simon Lee Simon Lee says:

    Hi Anita, I just tried your recipe. Followed to the exact details, perhaps is my taste, find it a bit on the salty side. Otherwise it take great. Thanks Simon

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks for the feedback Simon. I am glad you enjoyed the recipe :)

  • Eka Eka says:

    Hi Anita. I like your recipe. Simple, easy to find the ingredients in the US, and tasty! I have tried some of your recipes... Enak banget! Terimakasih. Salam, Eka

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks for the compliment Eka :) Salam juga :)

  • Chris Chris says:

    Hi Anita This opor Ayam recipe is a keeper. It is simple to cook with those readily available ingredients. It turned out fabulous and rich with flavour! Thank you for sharing ! I don't have to wait to go back hometown to enjoy this when I crave for opor ayam.

    • Anita Anita says:

      I am so happy to hear that Chris :)

  • Lala Lala says:

    Hi Anita! Your blog is officially my bible now :))). Love it so much! Thank you very sharing. Ini enak bingid :)))

    • Anita Anita says:

      Haha, thanks for the compliment, Lala. I'm so happy you find my recipes delicious. ;)

  • Sandi Sandi says:

    This looks better than anything I have had in a restaurant. I love the easy step by step directions.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks for the high praise, Sandi. I am glad the instructions are clear.

  • Katie Katie says:

    I’m going to surprise my husband by making this for him! We both love coconut curry, and love Indonesian food! How delicious!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Sounds like we can be good friends when it comes to food, Katie! I hope you and your husband will love this opor ayam recipe.

  • Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C says:

    I'm intrigued by the combination of chicken and coconut milk! This looks so delicious and comforting.

  • Valentina Valentina says:

    Such beautiful flavors in this! Lemongrass is one of my favorite ingredients to use. And that chicken looks so perfectly cooked. YUM!

  • Kate Kate says:

    Such an interesting combo. And I love all those spices.

  • Dessyre N Dangeubun Dessyre N Dangeubun says:

    Saya coba dan terima kasih banyak untuk inspirasinya.... meski beberapa bumbu saya modifikasi dalam hal jumlah krna saya sesuaikan dengan selera saya :)) tp petunjuknya benar2 membantu.... saya sangat berterima kasih dan ingin mencoba di menu yang lainnya....Terima kasih juga sudah tulis dalam bahasa inggris jadi saya gampang cari bahannya disini....Suami saya juga seneng banget sampai lahap. Tuhan berkati selalu....You are the best !!!!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Sama-sama mba Dessyre, semoga resep-resep yang lain dicoba juga yah kalau sempat. :)

  • Maria Maria says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe Anita. Appreciated. 🙏 Btw 100 gram of shallot equal to how many pieces ? Why not using pieces io gram for easier measurement ?☺️

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Maria, if you are using Asian/Chinese shallots, they are usually around 15 gram per shallot, so you will need about 6-7 shallots for 100 gram. On the other hand, if you are using French shallots which are more common outside Asia, the weight is usually around 45 gram per shallot, so you will only need around 2 for 100 gram. Because of this, I'm giving the measurement in weight. :)

  • Kari Hermann Kari Hermann says:

    I've never heard of opor-ayam but it looks amazing. I can't wait to try it!

  • Krissy Allori Krissy Allori says:

    Oh my, this is fantastic. So rich and decadent. Huge hit with my husband. Going to save this recipe.

  • Whitney Whitney says:

    I love the combination of flavors and herbs, can't wait to try this!

  • Noelle Noelle says:

    Great recipe with such simple instructions! Love this, thank you!


    This recipe looks so flavorful and perfect as an easy meal for the entire family! YUM!

  • Debbie Debbie says:

    Hi Anita, I'd like to try your Opor recipe today. I wonder if you can let me know in teaspoon for 1 inch galangal please? Also, would you be kind to let me know which brand for a good fried shallots to buy in asian shop? Thanks and hope to hear from you soon. Debbie

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Debbie, 1 inch galangal is about 1 tablespoon grated/ground galangal. For fried shallots, I usually buy the ones in a plastic jar since they are more likely to be intact compared to the ones that come in a plastic bag. The latest one I bought was Jans brand from Vietnam, the one from Maesri is also very good.

  • Katie Katie says:

    Thank you so much. I grew up with Opor Ayam and this tastes exactly like the one from my childhood. Thank you so much, I will definitely be making this again!!

  • Lany Susanto Lany Susanto says:

  • Dolly Dolly says:

    You forgot to add turmeric

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Dolly, there shouldn't be any turmeric in opor ayam. Perhaps you were trying to leave a comment for another recipe?

  • Flo Flo says:

    This is such a great recipe, such a great spice paste. I made the vegetarian version too with tempe and tofu, looks like lodeh a lot. ;) My 3 yo daughter finished the whole plate, a compliment for you, she’s such a picky eater.

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