Ajam Besengeh / Kuning: Indonesian Chicken in Yellow Coconut Sauce

Cuisine Indonesian
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Servings 6 portions
Prep Time 22 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 52 minutes
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Learn to make Ajam Besengeh, or Ajam Kuning. This Indonesian chicken dish is cooked with an extremely fragrant and flavorful yellow coconut milk sauce that is filled with herbs, spices, and aromatics. It’s a great dish served with some acar campur, steamed vegetables, and rice!

This is another dish that I learned about in the Navy. It’s an unbelievably fragrant and delicious dish, with tender chicken, and a sauce that coats every piece of chicken. The flavor is complex, with hints of citrus, turmeric, onion, with some heat from the chilies. Whenever I make a rijsttafel, this is always on the menu!

Learn to make Ajam Besengeh, or Ajam Kuning. This Indonesian chicken dish is cooked with an extremely fragrant and flavorful yellow coconut milk sauce that is filled with herbs, spices, and aromatics. It's a great dish served with some acar campur, steamed vegetables, and rice!

Ingredients

Bumbu (spice/herb paste)

  • 1 tsp Palm Sugar (Gula Djawa)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 0.5 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Tamarind Paste
  • 1 tbsp Hot water
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Slice Ginger
  • 2 Slice Galangal
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Ground coriander
  • 0.50 tsp White pepper
  • 0.5 tsp Ground cumin
  • 2 Fresno chili
  • 2 Scallions

Ajam Besengeh

  • 1.5 kg Chicken breast (I'm using breast, but you can use thigh meat also)
  • 1 stalk Lemon Grass
  • 1 Onion
  • 400 ml Coconut Milk Whole Fat
  • 1 Fresno chili

NUTRITION

Nutrition Facts
Ajam Besengeh / Kuning: Indonesian Chicken in Yellow Coconut Sauce
Serving Size
 
1 portion
Amount per Serving
Calories
414
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
19
g
29
%
Saturated Fat
 
14
g
88
%
Trans Fat
 
0.03
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Cholesterol
 
128
mg
43
%
Sodium
 
2784
mg
121
%
Potassium
 
1251
mg
36
%
Carbohydrates
 
19
g
6
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Protein
 
46
g
92
%
Vitamin A
 
280
IU
6
%
Vitamin C
 
38
mg
46
%
Calcium
 
68
mg
7
%
Iron
 
4
mg
22
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimer

Nutrition Facts provided are a calculated estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Instructions

Prepare the bumbu ingredients

  • In a small bowl, mix the tamarind puree with the hot water. Mix until the puree is dissolved.If you cannot find tamarind puree, mix 2 tsp of lime juice in 2 tsp of water instead.
  • Cut one the onion into large chunks.
  • Cut the light parts of the scallion into chunks. Do not throw away the dark part; we'll use that later.
  • Deseed the chilies.
  • Peel (with a spoon) a piece of ginger, and cut a 1cm slice (0.4 inch) thick.
  • Cut two 1cm (0.4 inch) slices of galangal, and peel them.

Preparing the other ingredients

  • Cut the chicken into large chunks.
  • Deseed the chili.
  • Finely dice the chili and onion.
  • With a mallet, bruise the lemon grass, and put it into a knot.
  • Slice the dark pieces of scallion into rings.

Preparing the bumbu (spice paste)

  • In a food processor, add all the bumbu ingredients, and pulse until it forms a paste without any large chunks in it.You will have to scrape down the sides and lid of the food processor from time to time, to make sure all the ingredients get in contact with the blades.

Cooking the ajam besengeh

  • In a cast-iron wok over medium-high heat, add 1tbsp of the thick layer on top of the coconut milk.It will start bubbling, which is normal, after which it will turn clear. That's when you're ready to move onto the next step. (Approximately 3 minutes)
  • Add the spice paste, and while stirring constantly, cook until it starts to dry out a bit. Around 3 minutes.
  • Add the diced onions and chilies. Stirring constantly, cook them until the onions turn glassy, approximately 2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken, and stir constantly, to make sure the chicken is coated with the spice paste. Cook until all the chicken has been seared on all sides. (about 4-5 minutes)
  • Add the coconut milk, and stir it all, until all the sauce is the same color yellow.
  • Add the lemon grass, make sure it's immersed. Then, lower the heat, and let it simmer (stirring occasionally) until the chicken is fully cooked.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan, and increase the heat. Let the sauce cook down by one-third.
  • Once the sauce is cooked down, add the chicken back in, and over low heat, cook it for a bit, to make sure the chicken is warm.
  • Serve, and garnish with the dark parts of the scallions.

Recipe How-To Video

Private Notes

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