Opor Ayam is a very popular Indonesian Balinese curry (according to Rick Stein), braised in a lot of coconut milk and very mild in taste. It’s soft, light and tasty. The Opor Ayam I made’s a combination of Amy Beh and Rick Stein’s recipes or interpretation of them.


  • 1.5kg chicken, chopped into bite-sized pcs (I used 1.2kg drummettes + 300g potatoes)
  • 4-5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 shallots, finely shredded
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar, or to taste

Ingredients to be ground into a Paste:

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 shallots, chopped
  • 1cm pc fresh turmeric, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 4 candlenuts
  • ½ tsp fennel
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1.5cm ginger, chopped
  • 3 cm galangal, chopped (or according Rick, can be replaced with ginger)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lemongrass, only white part, finely sliced – optional (I added it)
  • 1-3 fresh chillies, deseeded, chopped – optional (I added 3)

Ingredients A:

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised or smashed
  • 4 cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 daun salam (I used dried bayleaves)
  • 100ml thick coconut milk (a.k.a. coconut cream)
  • 350ml thin coconut milk (a.k.a. coconut milk)
  • 1 tbsp tamarind juice or ½ lime, juiced
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves



    Serves 4-6
    Prep time 40 mins +
    Marinate 2+ hrs
    Cook time 80 mins
    Total time ±4 hrs
total time


  1. Marinate chicken with ground ingredients for several hrs or preferably overnite in fridge (I only marinated my drummettes for 2 hrs).
  2. Heat just enough oil in a large pot or wok and fry sliced shallots on low heat till goden brown and crispy. Drain shallot crisps and set aside.
  3. Heat remaining oil in pot or wok on medium heat. Add chicken with marinade and fry till meat’s almost cooked and oil separates, about 10 mins.
  4. Add thin coconut milk and ingredients A.
  5. Stir till mixture starts to boil. Lower heat and simmer chicken till sauce thickens, abt 15-20 mins.
  6. Add thick coconut milk (or coconut cream) and tamarind or lime juice.  (Add potatoes too, if using.)
  7. Continue to cook for a further 15-20 mins.
  8. Add kaffir lime leaves, salt and sugar, to taste abt halfway thru cooking.
  9. It’s ready when meat’s completely cooked and tender, potatoes are cooked (but not soft) and sauce’s reduced and thickened.
  10. Serve with a garnishing of crisp fried shallots (I forgot about this!!)

But I’ll make it again my way coz I think all curries taste better with some potatoes in them.. Well, maybe I might try a mix of coconut milk and skimmed milk the next time to see if there’s a difference in taste as well as to make it slightly healthier. 🙂

We had it with steamed white rice and cubed cucumber-tomatoes. We also liked it with a little bit of spiciness – so the addition of chillies will remain.. 🙂


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