Bakakak Hayam comes from the Sundanese people of West Java. Sundanese cuisine apparently ranks as one of the most popular regional cuisines in Indonesia, which was once known as the Spice Islands. There are some great flavors in this dish–including galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and coconut milk–and I love the fact that it starts out like a curry, but is then eventually grilled.
As with many Asian recipes, you might be intimidated at first by unknown ingredients or simply by the long shopping list, but your efforts in the kitchen will be well-rewarded.
1 fresh chicken, quartered
1 teaspoon tamarind pulp
2 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup (250 ml) thick coconut milk
1 stalk lemongrass, tender inner part of bottom third only, bruised and cut into 3 pieces
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
3-4 red finger-length chilies
5 shallots, peeled
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1-inch piece galangal root, peeled and sliced
½-inch piece turmeric root, peeled and sliced
½ teaspoon, dried shrimp paste, toasted
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1.) Soak tamarind pulp in warm water for 5 minutes. Mash with fingers and strain to obtain juice. Place chicken in a bowl and rub the tamarind juice into the chicken. Set aside.
2.) Prepare the spice paste by dry-frying the peppercorns, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds in a small pan over low heat until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder or blender until fine. Add the remaining Spice Paste ingredients and grind to a smooth paste, adding a little oil as necessary to keep the mixture moist.
3.) Heat oil in a wok until hot and add Spice Paste. Stir-fry over low to medium heat until fragrant, 4-5 minutes. Add the thick coconut milk and lemon grass and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pierce the chicken all over with a fork and then add to the wok. Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes, turning from time to time until the sauce is absorbed and dries to a paste.
4.) Remove chicken from wok, coat well with any remaining sauce, and grill under a broiler or BBQ until cooked through and golden brown on all sides, about 10-15 minutes.