Opor Ayam

I have never heard of this dish until I was introduced to it by the in-laws at their favourite Nasi Padang restaurant in Singapore. I suppose I should know of this dish especially since I am Minang after all. But somehow, this dish has never made it to our table and I wonder why this simple chicken cooked in mild coconut gravy has never been adopted by the Minangs of Negeri Sembilan. The simplicity of its taste (not to forget preparation) make me want to recreate this dish in our home.

Note: I spoke to mum earlier (thanks for reading my blog! :D) and she said that opor is a common dish in Malaysia, but not really in my family. So I guess that is the reason why I was never aware of this dish until my stay in Singapore. Ah well, guess it is up to me to make it part of my family then.


1 whole   chicken (approximately 600 – 800g)

1 tspn      cumin (Jintan putih)

1 tspn      coriander seed (Ketumbar)

1 tspn   fennel seed (Jintan manis)

2              shallots (bawang kecil)

3-4           garlic cloves (bawang putih)

1 inch       ginger (halia)

1 stalk       lemon grass (serai)

2 pcs        Indonesian bay leaf (daun salam)

1               cinnamon stick (kayu manis)

2 pcs        Kaffir lime leaf (daun limau purut)

3-5pcs      Birds eye chillies (cili padi)

100ml        chicken stock (pati ayam)

100ml        Almond milk (or coconut milk)

100ml        water

2               tomatoes

Salt to taste

Juice of 1/2 a lime


1. Soak the chicken in juice of 1/2 a lime and leave to sit for 15 minutes. I use skinned chicken but it is up to your preference if you want to leave the skin on.






2. In the mean time, toast the cumin, coriander seed and fennel seed until fragrant. Grind the spices until fine. I use a pestle and mortar but a spice grinder would do the job much quicker.






3. Slice the shallots and garlic finely and crush the ginger.






4. Wash and drain the chicken. In a pan, drizzle some oil and sear the chicken 1 piece at a time. Avoid putting too many chicken pieces into the pan to prevent the chicken from steaming, instead of searing. Set aside the seared chicken on a separate container.









5. Using the same pan, fry the lemon grass for 5 minutes followed by the onions, garlic and ginger.Continue to fry until fragrant and the lemon grass soften slightly.






6. Pour in the grounded spice and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes. Add a little water if the pan becomes too dry. Pour in 100ml of water and bring to boil. Add in the bay leaves and cinnamon stick.






7. Add in 100ml of chicken stock. I make my own home made chicken stock which I refrigerate and thaw only when needed. Pour in 100ml of almond milk (or coconut milk) and let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.






8. Add in the chillies and kaffir lime leaves to the simmering liquid and salt to season. Let simmer for a further 10 minutes.






9. Cut each tomato into 4 and add them into the pan and cover the pan. Turn off the fire and let the opor sit in the covered pan for 5-10 minutes. Stir well once lid is re-opened.






The opor is now ready and best eaten with warm fluffy rice or nasi impit (pressed rice). This dish is usually served during the festive celebration of Aidilfitri in Indonesia and what better way to have it on the days leading up to the big day.






Have a blessed ramadhan,

Mariam S


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