Bali's 'Chic' Chicken
Daily life on Bali, Indonesia’s jewel island, is culturally linked to satisfying and keeping the gods, spirits and demons happy. In the midst of breathtaking vistas of cultivated coffee bean fields, sugar cane and rice terraces, pristine beaches edge the island and impressive volcanoes dot the land.
A rich cuisine has developed from the produce of Bali’s countryside. The island is full of must-try restaurants offering some of the best foods in the world. They are on par with many internationally well-known restaurants in the Far East and beyond.
A good many of these Balian restaurants are located in beautiful settings - overlooking the sea or in a candle-lit garden under the stars - they tempt locals and visitors alike to come in and relax while enjoying the gourmet world of Bali.
Inside they will find dishes galore, especially in the island’s endless Warungs – small specialized eating places serving just a sampling of Bali’s traditional dishes. And this is where I had my first introduction to ayam bakar (grilled chicken), a sweet-spicy chicken of which I could not get enough.
There are numerous ways to make grilled chicken but this is one of the most delicious.
The chicken can be grilled or broiled in the oven as in this recipe. There are two steps involved in making this dish: cooking the chicken in coconut milk and spices, then grilling or broiling the pieces after rubbing them with a sweet chili sauce.
Pairing it with plain rice as a side dish makes for a perfect combination.
Grilled Chicken - Ayam Bakar
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons finely ground raw cashew nuts
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken pieces - thighs and legs attached
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Sweet chili sauce
In a thick-bottomed frying pan, toast coriander and cumin seeds, allow to cool then grind them.
In a food processor, add the ground coriander and cumin, the onion, garlic, cashew nuts, lime juice, ginger, paprika and chili flakes and process into a soft paste.
Rub the paste all over the chicken pieces and set aside. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium, add chicken and fry for 10 minutes, turning once.
Add the coconut milk, water, salt and pepper and bring to soft boil. Cover and cook for 40 minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove the chicken and brush chicken lightly with sweet chili sauce.
Place chicken in baking pan and broil until chicken begins to brown.
Serve immediately with its sauce.