This was one of the three main dishes I learned during my Balinese farm cooking class at Pemulan Farm Cooking School, which is about an hour north of Ubud. I’ve always felt pretty ‘meh’ about curry, so I was surprised I liked this one as much as I did. I think in part it is because Opor Ayam is much more floral than your standard Asian subcontinent curries due to things like galangal, salam, and lemongrass.
The base of this dish is of course the Bumbu Bali. Also known as Base Gede, this seasoning mix is used in so many different Balinese and Indonesian dishes so I suggest making a large batch of it and trying a variety of different dishes. Here is the Bumbu Bali recipe.
Opor Ayam Ingredients
50 grams Chicken; cut into bite size pieces.
2 tbsp Bumbu Bali aka Base Gede.
1 piece Lemongrass; smashed
1 Salam Leaf
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Kaffir Limes; juiced.
1/2 tsp Salt; or to taste.
1/2 tsp Pepper; or to taste.
150 ml Coconut Milk
1/2 liter Water
250 grams Hard Vegetables; chopped (mix of carrots, potatoes, long beans etc).
Opor Ayam Instructions
1. In a pot add the chicken and bumbo bali, salam leaf, lemongrass, salt, and pepper. Massage the meat with the spices until well coated.
2. Pour the water into the pot (just enough to cover the meat) and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
3. Add the hard vegetables and continue boiling for another 10 minutes, or until the water has almost completely evaporated.
4. Add the coconut milk, brown sugar, and lime juice (still at high heat) and cook until thick, about 5 more minutes.
5. Serve the opor ayam hot, with a side of steamed white rice.
When I was first making this recipe, I was worried that the chicken would be dry and overcooked. After all, boiling chicken for that long is not a popular method in western cooking. However there was no need to fear as the chicken came out tender and juicy. I’m assuming the coconut milk invigorated the meat at the end and infused it with liquid and flavors.
Opor Ayam (Balinese Chicken Curry)
- 50 grams Chicken cut into bite size pieces
- 2 tbsp Bumbu Bali aka Base Gede
- 1 piece Lemongrass smashed
- 1 Salam Leaf
- 1 tbsp Palm Sugar or regular brown sugar
- 2 Kaffir Limes juiced
- 1/2 tsp Salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp Pepper or to taste
- 150 ml Coconut Milk
- 1/2 liter Water
- Put the chicken into a pot along with the bumbu bali, salam leaf, lemongrass, salt, and pepper and give everything a good massage until the chicken is well coated.
- Pour water enough to cover the meat and bring up to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes uncovered.
- Add the chopped hard vegetables and continue to boil for another 10 minutes, or until the water is almost completely evaporated.
- Add the coconut milk, palm/brown sugar, and lime juice. Continue to cook (stirring sometimes) until the sauce is thick.
- Serve opor ayam hot with a side of steamed white rice.