Ajam Pangeh -Chicken in Coconut sauce

chicken in coconut sauce

This is Ajam Pangeh: chicken in coconut sauce from Bantam, a province in West Java. The dish sounds delicious to me because of the coconut sauce, ginger, salam, lemon juice and is also topped with basil.

Beb also suggests adding blingbing wuluh through it. These are small sour fruits in the shape of a torpedo. I can’t get it here easily. So I go for some more lemon juice.

Bantam style chicken dish (Ajam Pangeh – Bantam) #280 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch kookboek, page 240.


  • 1 kg chicken breast
  • 1/6 block of santen
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • water


  • 10 tablespoons chopped onions
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons sambal ulek
  • 8 puffed kemiries
  • 1 teaspoon laos
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt
  1. Grind half of the onions with all the garlic, sambal, the roasted kemiries, galangal, ginger powder and turmeric.
  2. Stir in the other half of the chopped onions and fry everything in the oil until the onions are yellow.
  3. Cook the chicken in water and salt; cook the chicken pieces halfway through, remove the meat from the bone and cut into dices.
  4. Add to the 2 1/2 dl of the stock the santen and the herbs and add the chicken pieces when it boils.
  5. Cook the mixture until the chicken meat is cooked and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Stir in the lemon juice and a teaspoon of basil.
  7. In Indonesia, belimbing adds wulu. These fruits could be replaced by unripe gooseberries, about a handful. Or just leave it out and use a little more lemon juice.

chicken coconut ingredients

I don’t go for a kilo of chicken, but bought half a kilo of free-range chicken thighs. That’s why I divide all the ingredients in two.

I think the combination of galangal, ginger and turmeric is a wonderful combination. The whole dish is beautifully yellowed by the turmeric as well.

The kemiri nuts (candlenuts in English) ensure that the bumbu binds well and becomes a bit mushy. You can also buy kemiri nuts as a pasta. One teaspoon equals 2 nuts.

Santen (coconut cream) is available in the supermarket. If not, use thick coconut milk. I would use about 200 ml coconut milk for the amount of chicken in this recipe.

Sambal ulek is very easy to make yourself because it contains only peppers with some salt, but it is even easier to rub a fresh chili pepper through the bumbu mix. Or in my case: I use the immersion blender to make a paste.

After a few seconds you have a beautifully smooth spice mix (bumbu). Perfect to stew the chicken in.

Meanwhile I place the chicken in hot water with some salt. I do not need to cook it all the way through. So after 15 minutes I take it out of the water to let it cool down so I can take the meat off.

Meanwhile I stir-fry the bumbu. When the onions are nice and yellow, I add some coarsely chopped onions.

Then I pour in 2,5 dl of stock (in which the chicken has simmered) and melt the piece of santen in it.

I take off the meat with my hands. I don’t cut it into cubes anymore because it is already fine enough. I let the chicken cook until it is cooked (at least another 10 minutes) with the lid of the pan. This way the delicious sauce thickens a bit.

I roughly chop fresh basil and stir it in. This time I have regular basil and no Thai (which is very different but also delicious in this recipe). I squeeze in some lemon and serve my chicken in coconut sauce!


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