I'll confess, ayam goreng (Indonesian fried chicken) is undoubtedly the quickest way to my heart, and this recipe in particular is very dear to me.
My step-mom Esti was raised in the Sundanese region of Java, Indonesia, eating this style of chicken. She calls it kampung (village) chicken because the ingredients are used fresh and pounded into a pulp with a mortar and pestle. She perfected her own magical interpretation of ayam goreng and cooked it for me growing up. Ours is served with rice, sambal, a raw vegetable salad if we're lucky, and eaten with our hands. It's so delightful I may have dreamt about it once or twice.
Like any good chef, mama Esti eyeballs everything, dancing around the kitchen with a nursing baby dangling from her breast, putting dashes and pinches of smelly, spicy, and sweet ingredients into bubbling cauldrons of goodness, and I'll tail behind her franticly scribbling down what seem like generally correct measurements. My attempts at home are never quite right.
Finally, we sat down and spent the afternoon carefully writing out and practicing the recipe. This one works. Now that I have it for keeps (and in turn, so do you!) I'll definitely be passing it on to my eventual little ones. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.
I've also included a recipe for sambal terasi (shrimp hot sauce), and karedok (Sundanese raw vegetable salad with long beans and a spicy peanut sauce) which are perfect accoutrements.
Sundanese Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken)
You'll need: a mortar and pestle or a food processor. It will be your most trusted companion in this recipe.
• 10-12 chicken drumsticks or wings
• about 1/2 cup chicken broth
• about 2 cups preferred oil for frying (avocado, canola, or refined coconut will all work)
• 3 large thumbs fresh ginger
• 3 large thumbs fresh turmeric
• 1 shallot, peeled
• 7 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 tbsp + 1 tsp powdered or freshly ground coriander
• 2 candlenuts
• about 3 tbsp salt
• fresh cucumber and tomato slices (optional)
For (optional) toasted coconut topping:
• 2 cups shredded coconut
• 2 shallots
• 1 thumb turmeric
• 1/2 thumb fresh galangal
• 2 candlenuts
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 tbsp coconut sugar (can substitute brown sugar)
• 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces
• 1 tbsp cooking oil