Fried chicken is eaten all around the world, and each country has their own version of it. Bali in Indonesia is no exception. In Indonesian, they call it Ayam Goreng. Crispy on the outside, but succulent, moist and juicy on the inside and thoroughly moreish.
Learning to cook Ayam Goreng in Bali
While I was in Bali, I had a cooking lesson from Wayan at Warung Wayan in Lovina in the North of Bali. Along with delicious sambal matah, nasi goreng, tempe and sate lilit, Wayan taught me how to cook Ayam Goreng.
First, we had to get our ingredients and it was an early start for our trip to the market. We needed chicken, shallots and a selection of herbs and seasonings.
Making Ayam Goreng has two stages.
The shallots, ginger, garlic, coriander are blended and added to water in a big pot. The chicken legs are added and simmered in the broth for about an hour until tender.
After leaving it to dry, the legs are then dried and either fried or cooked on the barbeque. Unlike many fried chicken recipes, the legs are not coated in flour, breadcrumbs or any other coating, but relies on the natural crispiness of the chicken skin.
It makes a change from normal fried chicken and is easy to make. Delicious served hot or cold.
Three ingredients of Ayam Goreng that you might not know:
Galangal: similar to ginger or turmeric roots in looks, galangal is also a rhizome, but a much paler skin and centre. The tastes are also different. Galagal is citrusy and doesn’t have the heat or spiciness of ginger or the earthy taste of turmeric. If you are substituting ginger, only use about three-quarters of the amount. It is available in Asian food stores or on Amazon.
Candlenuts (or kemiri): raw candlenuts have a rather bland taste, but when toasted or roasted, they taste like almonds without the bitterness. If you can’t find candlenuts you can use macadamia nuts instead.
Monosodium Glutamate: occurring naturally in tomatoes and some cheeses, monosodium glutamate or MSG is normally found in Asian food. It has had some bad press, but it is deemed to be safe. If you are unsure, just use sea salt instead.
Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken Balinese Style)
- Cooking Pot
- Frying Pan or Barbeque
- 8 cm galangal, peeled
- 5 shallots, peeled and chopped
- ½ bulb garlic
- 4 candlenuts or macadamia nuts
- 2 cm ginger, peeled
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- ½ cup water
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 4 tsp salt
- 2 monosodium glutamante
- 1 kg chicken legs with the skin on
- Put all the paste ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add the blended paste to a pot of boiling water. Next add the stock cube, salt and monosodium glutamate and the chicken legs, put the lid on and simmer for 1 hour.
- After the hour, remove the legs and leave to cool.
- Once they have cooled, slice across the flesh. You can then either deep fry or put on barbeque turning until brown and crispy. As the chicken is already cooked, you don't need as long, maybe 10 minutes or less.
- Serve with salad, rice, sambal, chips or whatever you fancy!
I hope you enjoy making Ayam Goreng and if you have any questions about Balinese food or wish to share any tips of your own ayam goreng cooking, please comment below!
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Larch was semi-nomadic until 2022, when she sold her house, packed up her belongings in a storage unit and set off on her travels around the world. Now fully nomadic, she combines her website design business and her drone flying with exploring the world. Her passion for travel aims to inspire over 30s to explore new destinations and expand their horizons.