Balinese-Style Chicken

Bali is not only known for its exotic culture but also for its earthy foods. I remember on my first visit many years ago how impressed I was at the diversity of Balinese cooking. Many of their dishes are simmered or roasted. Here is one of my favourites. It is simple to make and re-heats easily. Serve it with plain rice and vegetables for a complete meal.


  • 900 g (2 lb) chicken thighs with bone in
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 225 g (8 oz) onions, coarsely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 3 fresh red or green chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 400 ml (15 fl oz) tinned coconut milk


Blot the chicken dry with kitchen paper. Sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle with the flour, shaking off any excess.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat to low. Add the chicken skin-side down and slowly brown on both sides. Remove the chicken and drain on kitchen paper.

Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil and fat. Then add the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Then add the sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, soy sauce and coconut milk. Return the chicken to the sauce, turn the heat as low as possible, cover and braise for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Transfer to a warm platter and serve at once.