Rice Porridge with Spicy Chicken Soup

Bubur Ayam

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

Indonesian Regional Food and Cookery

By Sri Owen

Published 1994

  • About

This has become much more popular in the last ten years in many restaurants, especially in Jakarta. In big international hotels, bubur ayam has become one of the most sought-after dishes in a late supper menu. If the hotel has a coffee shop that is open 24 hours, the usual hour for bubur ayam is after 11 o’clock at night.

Many hotels also serve bubur ayam for breakfast, and I was told that in Jakarta, Bali and Medan there is great demand for it from visitors from Japan and other Asian countries – almost as great as the demand for nasi goreng at breakfast-time. I certainly would sooner have a choice of these two dishes than a basket of soggy microwaved croissants. Bread for toast is even less impressive. Here is a recipe for bubur ayam so you can try it first at home.


For the Porridge

  • 225 g/8 oz/1 cup long grain rice, soaked in cold water for 2–4 hours, or overnight, then drained
  • 670 ml/24 fl oz/3 cups cold water or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Chicken Soup

  • 1 small chicken, cleaned and quartered, or 3–4 chicken breasts on the bone
  • 1.7–2.3 litres/3–4 pints/7½–10 cups cold water
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Paste

  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 3 candlenuts, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Make the porridge first, because this is to be served cold. It can be made quite a long time in advance. When the porridge is cooked, transfer it into a nice deep-sided platter. Leave to get cold, and refrigerate until needed.

Boil the chicken pieces in the water with the salt for 40 minutes over a low heat. Leave to cool, and when cool enough to handle, shred or slice the chicken meat into small pieces. Put the skin and the bones back into the stock, and continue cooking it for 10–15 more minutes. Then strain the stock and keep aside.

Put all the ingredients for the paste, except the salt and pepper, into a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the paste into a large saucepan, and simmer, stirring often, for 5–6 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, stir around and season with salt and pepper. Add the stock, bring back to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.

To serve the bubur ayam, arrange all the garnishes separately in small dishes. Keep the chicken soup piping hot on the stove or hot plate. Ask everybody to help themselves. First, put a large spoonful or two of the porridge in a bowl or deep soup plate. Next, put some of the garnishes (except the fried onions and the sambal kecap or Tabasco sauce) on top of the porridge. Then ladle the hot soup with the chicken pieces over them. Last, sprinkle the fried onions over all, and add some sambal kecap or Tabasco sauce if you like your bubur ayam hotter and spicier.

For the Garnish