Amazing Ayam Besengek

One of the favorite Indonesian dishes of my father is this very tasteful chicken dish. Our house was infused with the intoxicating aromas of the various herbs used to prepare this dish. The result is absolutely amazing and it’s a cinch to prepare.


1 whole free-range chicken,
4 shallots (Bawang Merah)
3 cloves of garlic (Bawang Putih)
2 red pepers (Lombok)
1 stalk of lemongrass (crushed) (Sereh)
1 tsp asem
2 tbsp vegetable oil (Minyak Sayur)
1 tsp salt (Garam)
150 ml thick coconut cream (Santen Asli)
1 tsp palm sugar (Gula Djawa)
3 salam leaves (Daun Salam)
2 kaffir leaves (Jeruk Purut)
200 ml water (Air Putih)

In a mortar or food processor grind
5 cm or 2 tsp curcuma (Kunyit)
1 tsp coriander (Ketoembar)
2 cm greater galanger or Siamese ginger (Laos)
1 tsp fermented shrimp paste (Trassie)
3 kemiri nuts (Kacang Kemiri)

Cara Membuat:

  1. Cut the chicken into pieces, separate legs, wings and quarter the body,

  2. Slice shallots and garlic,

  3. Remove seeds and seed strings from the red peppers and finely slice (if you want it spicier then leave the lot in and finely slice),

  4. Heat up the oil in a wok (Wadjan) and gently fry shallots, garlic, lemongrass, the bumbu and the asem for about 3 minutes or until golden. Do not over fry as it will otherwise turn bitter. Add the chicken, salam leaves, kaffir leaves, and water and stew for about 50 minutes. Then add the coconut cream and palm sugar and continue to stew for another 15 minutes.