This is a favorite on warung menus and is served with the famous Kedewatan nasi campur. The chicken is simmered with a pile of fresh spices in a large saucepan for at least an hour. The result is a tender, tasty chicken bathed in a fragrant chicken stock. The spices also preserve the meat, meaning it can tolerate a couple of hours’ sitting happily in a huge pot in a busy warung without spoiling.

  • 1 large chicken (1½ kg)
  • 3 tablespoons oil for frying
  • 4 lime leaves
  • 3 salam leaves
  • 2 knots of lemongrass
  • 3-4 cups water

Spice paste:
  • 4 red shallots
  • 7 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 5 large red chilli, seeds removed
  • 5 small chillies
  • 5 candlenut
  • 2 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 3 tablespoons galangal
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons kencur
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons tamarind, seeds removed
  • I tablespoon palm sugar

Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Place the spices in the container of an electric food processor and blend to a smooth paste, adding a little water if necessary. You can use a coffee grinder to grind the seeds and nuts.

Alternatively, chop the spices with a cleaver.

Heat the oil in a wok over a medium flame and sauté the spices until fragrant and glossy or for about a minute, pushing the spices back and forth in the wok. Add the aromatic leaves and toss around together for half a minute.

Add the water and the whole chicken.

Simmer for an hour or until cooked. Check seasonings.

Serve with steamed rice and topped with fried onion.

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