This, I must say is my favorite fried chicken! It has the sweetness from the fresh coconut juice, and fragrant lemongrass, turmeric, and coriander. This ayam goreng is quite popular in Indonesia. My mother would make this for us very often and we never seem bored eating it. The technique of cooking this ayam goreng is rather unusual as well. First you braised the hens with coconut water and fragrant spices until it is cooked, then frying it in oil to get that nicely brown and slightly crispy skin.
*To make this ayam goreng, you will need the water from fresh coconut, do not confuse coconut water or juice with coconut milk, which come from the process of milking the flesh. When you buy fresh coconut, look for the one that feel heavy for its size, then try to gently shake it to make sure it still has water in it. The more water it contains the freshest the coconut. If there is no water in it, don't buy it! It is probably moldy even worse, rotten inside.
Ayam Goreng. Indonesian Fried Chicken With Coconut Water, Turmeric, and Coriander
2 (weigh less then 3 lbs total) cornish hens, cut in half
5 cloves garlic
1 - 2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbs coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
4 cups coconut water or juice from 2 fresh coconuts *
1 lemongrass, cut into pieces then smashed
1 sliced fresh galangal
2 -3 Indonesian bay leaf
canola oil for frying
Pound together garlic, coriander, and kosher salt into a smooth paste. Rub the hen pieces all over with this paste.
In a shallow pan large enough to accomodate all hens add coconut water, turmeric lemongrass, galangal, and bay leaves, then arrange hen pieces in a single layer. Cook on medium heat about 35 to 45 minutes. Stir from time to time to ensure even cooking. Remove from the heat, transfer the hens onto a plate to cool completely.
When ready to serve, heat a skillet (iron skillet works best for me) over medium heat. Add about 3 to 4 tbs canola oil. When the oil is hot enough, carefully add the hen pieces. Since the hens are quite small, all four pieces will fit in a 12 inch skillet. Fry on both side until golden brown, about a minute or so depending on heat. Remove from the heat, place them on a cooling rack to drain all excess oil. Serve with steam rice, and simple saute vegetable. The addition of sambal (Indonesian chili sauce) is always delicious too.