Malaysian and Singaporean curries are mostly orangey red, Thai has their green version of curry, Indian curries looks yellowish and Japanese curry is brownish.. However, Indonesian has a very famous Javanese curry that looks rather pale , beige to very light yellowish.
That will lead to the definition of curry. What is curry? In my humble opinion, curry does not necessary have turmeric and chilli or coconut milk. That is what we are led to believe since young as our household curries uses all these.. However, curry is linked to the combination of spices that are originated from India including fennels, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, turmeric, chilli and many much more.
The readily sold curry powder premix is already a blend of many of these spices and what we saw is just some yellowish colour powder. These curry powders has lots of ingredients in it and every brand has its very own concoction of spices and usually classify as their trade secret. That also explains why you prefer certain brand of curry powder and not the other brand..
Opor ayam or Javanese white colour curry uses very minimum spices and the curry is very much flavoured by cumin and coriander. Other than that, all other ingredients are very common in the region. It is white because no chilli and turmeric were used. It is a non spicy curry but it is equally delicious.
As it is beige in colour, food with beige or light or white colour are very difficult to take picture and I am disappointed with my set of pictures. In addition, as beige colour food does not look tasty and people will interpreted it as bland and tasteless. I am rather unsure if my set of pictures will irk the readers. Therefore, I have decided to pre-post in two Indonesian groups and asked their feedbacks. I am happy that the response was encouraging and they have told me what i have shown them is what opor ayam are supposed to look like. They gave me some tips that if preferred, a small quantity of kunyit or turmeric can be added to make it light yellowish… I have to thank them for the feedback.
I am pleased with the adventure and I will definitely prepare again in the near future. Nobody at home dislike this curry as it is rather mild but full of coconut aroma.. Kids love them and to me, I need no worry to cook this dish because of the spiciness.
As per Wikipedia:
“Opor ayam is a chicken cooked in coconut milk from Indonesia, especially from Central Java. Spice mixture (bumbu) include galangal, lemongrass, cinnamon, tamarind juice, palm sugar, coriander, cumin, candlenut, garlic, shallot, and pepper. Opor ayam is also a popular dish for lebaran or Eid ul-Fitr, usually eaten with ketupat and sambal goreng ati (beef liver in sambal).” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opor_ayam)
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 6-8 Adults
- 1 chicken, cut into 6-8 pieces
- 200 ml or coconut milk
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 5 cloves of garlic or 3 tablespoons of garlic paste*
- 6 shallots or 4 tablespoons of shallot paste*
- 3 cm of galangal*
- 6 candlenuts, soaked (substitutable with 10 cashew nuts or 6 macadamia nuts)*
* above is to be blended together
- 2 tablespoons of coriander powder
- 2 tablespoons of cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Chicken stock to taste (optional)
- Deep fry shallots for garnishing
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Put all the spice mix ingredients in a blender, add a bit of water and blend until it forms a white paste .
- In a wok, put 3 tablespoons of oil, put the blended ingredients, coriander powder, cumin powder and sauté under medium heat until aromatic and oils start to sip out of the rempah. It will take at least 10-15 minutes.
- Put the chicken and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until well mixed. Add about 500 ml of water or enough water just to cover the chicken, add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and kaffir lime leaves, bring to boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer until the chicken is soft (about 25-30 minutes) . Add the coconut milk and the seasoning, once it boils, off the heat and let it rest in the wok for another 1-2 hours for the flavour to develop. Garnish with deep fried shallots before serving.
I am rather confused if this opor ayam have any linkages with another type of non spicy curry – ayam kurma. I do not have the time to dig into the details. This non spicy curry apparently is rather welcome in Western countries and I remembered even New Yolk Times has a recipe. It is understandable that there are many people in other parts of the world who cannot take spicy food like my kids. My girl surprises me by taking 3 pieces of chicken. Apparently, this suits her taste bud.
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