What’s your childhood favorite food? To most Indonesian around my age, ahem, the top spot is probably reserved for ayam goreng mentega - fried chicken in buttery sweet soy sauce.
Crispy fried chicken pieces, coated with sweet sticky buttery sauce that is finger licking good, you just know you are in for a good time with this dish. Just give me this and a bowl of rice and I won’t need anything else for a great meal.
There are two parts to this lovely dish, ayam goreng (fried chicken), and saus mentega (buttery sweet soy sauce). And we will go through what ingredients are needed for each part.
I. Fried chicken
We will need boneless skinless chicken thigh, garlic, lime juice, all-purpose flour, tapioca starch (or cornstarch), salt, pepper, and oil.
II. Buttery sweet soy sauce
We will need unsalted butter, onion, garlic, kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), Worcestershire sauce, salt, sugar, and pepper.
1. Marinate the chicken
Mix together chicken thigh pieces with bruised garlic, lime juice, and salt. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
2. Coat the chicken
Whisk together all-purpose flour, tapioca starch, and salt. Toss the chicken into the flour mixture to fully coat. There shouldn’t be any standing liquid at all at this point.
3. Fry the chicken
Heat enough oil in a wok/pot for deep-frying. Once the oil is hot enough (it should looks shimmering and runnier), add the coated chicken pieces, in batches if needed, and fry until golden brown. Set aside over a wire rack while we prepare the sauce.
First, melt butter in a wok over medium high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant and onion is translucent.
Next, season with salt, ground pepper, sugar, and mix well.
Then add kecap manis and Worcestershire sauce, mix and wait until the sauce bubbles.
Quickly return fried chicken pieces into the wok and toss gently to coat with sauce.
Turn off the heat, and transfer to a serving plate. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.
Those who are familiar with this dish will know that almost all restaurants that serve this dish use one whole chicken cut into roughly 20 pieces of chicken, with skin and bone intact.
If you have a friendly butcher that is willing to help you chop up your chicken, by all mean do give the traditional method a try since the bone and the skin does improve the dish, but be ready to get messy comes chow time.
For everyone else, I guarantee that using skinless boneless chicken thigh is delicious enough without taking away too many points from the traditional method.