Just over eleven years ago, JMP and I posted a recipe for Javanese-style fried chicken, ayam goreng. Having recently cooked a version of the same dish, using only ingredients found at the local grocery store, I figure it’s time for an update.
This method simplifies the preparation greatly, but preserves the essence of what makes Javanese fried chicken good. The key to this is the marinade: be sure to let the chicken sit for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, in the marinade before proceeding.
1 small whole chicken, cut into parts
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup tamarind water (made from 2 Tbsp tamarind paste)
1 stalk lemongrass, lightly crushed
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 small shallots (or 1 large), sliced
1 inch ginger, sliced
1 inch galangal, sliced
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground turmeric (or 1 inch fresh, if available)
1 tsp. peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp. whole cloves, crushed
1 tsp. whole coriander, crushed
oil for frying
chicken stock (optional)
Combine all of the ingredients except for oil and chicken stock in a bowl, then marinade for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
Place the chicken and marinade in a pot, and add chicken stock or water just to cover the chicken. Bring the chicken and marinade just to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside. (At this point, you can cook marinade for 20 more minutes or so over low heat, and then serve it over rice as a kind of curry.)
While the chicken is resting, heat the oil to 350 degrees. Working in batches, fry the chicken pieces for 5-10 minutes each, turning once or twice, until dark brown.