Opor Ayam (Chicken in Coconut Milk)
Soak chicken pieces in lemon juice for 30 minutes.Advertisement
Meanwhile, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast candlenuts, coriander, and cumin in the skillet until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large mortar and pestle and grind into a paste with shallots, garlic, galangal, ginger, peppercorns, and turmeric. Work in batches if necessary.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add spice paste and stir until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Add lemongrass, tamarind juice, lime leaves, bay leaves, salt, and sugar.
Rinse lemon juice off chicken pieces and slide them into the skillet. Turn to coat evenly with spices. Pour in thin and thick coconut milk. Simmer until flavors combine, about 30 minutes. Add basil leaves. Continue cooking until chicken is tender, about 15 minutes more.
Serve chicken and sauce in a bowl, sprinkled with fried shallots.
Substitute salam leaves for the bay leaves if desired. Use lime basil leaves if you can find them.