The Islamic festival of Eid al-Fitr, known locally as Lebaran, is celebrated with much joy and festivity. People buy new clothes to wear, travel back to family villages and break the long fasting of Ramadan with a feast. Chicken poached in a creamy, luscious sauce is traditional, as well as being a Javanese favourite year round. With delicate spicing rather than chilli heat, opor ayam is perfect for those who like their curries both mild and enchanting.
Start by making the bumbu spice paste. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and grind to a paste, adding a little water to help the blades do their work.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole pan. Fry the bumbu, salam and lime leaves for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until very fragrant. Add the chicken, lemongrass and galangal and turn to coat in the spice paste. Stir in
Add the coconut milk and palm sugar to the pan, bring up to a simmer and continue to braise uncovered for another 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Taste for salt. Leave to rest and cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
Serve scattered with crisp-fried shallots (the sort you can buy in Asian stores).
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