Ajam Besengeh / Kuning: Indonesian Chicken in Yellow Coconut Sauce

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!

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AuthorToine
RatingDifficultyIntermediate
Prep Time22 minsCook Time1 hr 30 minsTotal Time1 hr 52 mins
Category, CuisineCooking MethodTags, ,
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Yields6 Servings
Bumbu (spice/herb paste)
 1 tsp Gula Jawa (Palm Sugar)Use light-brown sugar if you cannot find this
 3 Garlic cloves
 0.50 tsp Salt
 1 tbsp Hot water
 1 Onion
 1 Slice of gingerApproximately 1cm (0.4 inch) thick
 2 Slices of galangalEach slice approximately 1cm (0.4 inch) thick. You can find galangal in the Asian grocery store, either in the produce section or the freezer. If you cannot find galangal, omit it.
 1 tbsp Turmeric
 2 tsp Ground coriander
 0.50 tsp White pepper
 0.50 tsp Ground cumin
 2 Fresno chilies(Use only 1 if you aren't a fan of spicy foods)
 2 Scallions
Ajam Besengeh
 1.50 kg Boneless chicken (I'm using breast, but you can use thigh meat also)1.5kg ≈ 3.25 Lbs of chicken
 1 Stalk of lemon grass
 1 Onion
 400 ml Coconut Milk (Whole fat)400ml ≈ 13.5oz (one can) of coconut milk
 1 Fresno chili (Omit if you don't like spicy food)
Equipment
 Cast-Iron WokIf you don't have a wok, you can use a large cast-iron Dutch oven
Nutrition Facts

Servings 6


Amount Per Serving
Calories 479
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22.6g35%
Saturated Fat 14.3g72%
Cholesterol 160mg54%
Sodium 341mg15%
Potassium 1219mg35%
Total Carbohydrate 11.6g4%
Dietary Fiber 2.8g12%
Sugars 5.7g
Protein 55.8g112%

Calcium 3%
Iron 16%
Vitamin D 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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

Prepare the bumbu ingredients
1

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.

2

Cut one the onion into large chunks.

3

Cut the light parts of the scallion into chunks. Do not throw away the dark part; we'll use that later.

4

Deseed the chilies.

5

Peel (with a spoon) a piece of ginger, and cut a 1cm slice (0.4 inch) thick.

6

Cut two 1cm (0.4 inch) slices of galangal, and peel them.

Preparing the other ingredients
7

Cut the chicken into large chunks.

8

Deseed the chili.

9

Finely dice the chili and onion.

10

With a mallet, bruise the lemon grass, and put it into a knot.

11

Slice the dark pieces of scallion into rings.

Preparing the bumbu (spice paste)
12

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
13

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)

14

Add the spice paste, and while stirring constantly, cook until it starts to dry out a bit. Around 3 minutes.

15

Add the diced onions and chilies. Stirring constantly, cook them until the onions turn glassy, approximately 2 minutes.

16

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)

17

Add the coconut milk, and stir it all, until all the sauce is the same color yellow.

18

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.

19

Remove the chicken from the pan, and increase the heat. Let the sauce cook down by one-third.

20

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.

21

Serve, and garnish with the dark parts of the scallions.

Eet Smakelijk!

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Ingredients

Bumbu (spice/herb paste)
 1 tsp Gula Jawa (Palm Sugar)Use light-brown sugar if you cannot find this
 3 Garlic cloves
 0.50 tsp Salt
 1 tbsp Hot water
 1 Onion
 1 Slice of gingerApproximately 1cm (0.4 inch) thick
 2 Slices of galangalEach slice approximately 1cm (0.4 inch) thick. You can find galangal in the Asian grocery store, either in the produce section or the freezer. If you cannot find galangal, omit it.
 1 tbsp Turmeric
 2 tsp Ground coriander
 0.50 tsp White pepper
 0.50 tsp Ground cumin
 2 Fresno chilies(Use only 1 if you aren't a fan of spicy foods)
 2 Scallions
Ajam Besengeh
 1.50 kg Boneless chicken (I'm using breast, but you can use thigh meat also)1.5kg ≈ 3.25 Lbs of chicken
 1 Stalk of lemon grass
 1 Onion
 400 ml Coconut Milk (Whole fat)400ml ≈ 13.5oz (one can) of coconut milk
 1 Fresno chili (Omit if you don't like spicy food)
Equipment
 Cast-Iron WokIf you don't have a wok, you can use a large cast-iron Dutch oven

Directions

Prepare the bumbu ingredients
1

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.

2

Cut one the onion into large chunks.

3

Cut the light parts of the scallion into chunks. Do not throw away the dark part; we'll use that later.

4

Deseed the chilies.

5

Peel (with a spoon) a piece of ginger, and cut a 1cm slice (0.4 inch) thick.

6

Cut two 1cm (0.4 inch) slices of galangal, and peel them.

Preparing the other ingredients
7

Cut the chicken into large chunks.

8

Deseed the chili.

9

Finely dice the chili and onion.

10

With a mallet, bruise the lemon grass, and put it into a knot.

11

Slice the dark pieces of scallion into rings.

Preparing the bumbu (spice paste)
12

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
13

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)

14

Add the spice paste, and while stirring constantly, cook until it starts to dry out a bit. Around 3 minutes.

15

Add the diced onions and chilies. Stirring constantly, cook them until the onions turn glassy, approximately 2 minutes.

16

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)

17

Add the coconut milk, and stir it all, until all the sauce is the same color yellow.

18

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.

19

Remove the chicken from the pan, and increase the heat. Let the sauce cook down by one-third.

20

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.

21

Serve, and garnish with the dark parts of the scallions.

Ajam Besengeh / Kuning: Indonesian Chicken in Yellow Coconut Sauce

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