Green Chicken

This is Beb Vuyk’s recipe for green chicken, or ajam bumbu hidjau from Padang. The ‘green’ in the chicken is caused by green chili peppers (lombok). Beb advises to take out the seeds. I also remove the seedbeds (the white part where the seeds are attached), so this green chicken is not too hot, but you can of course make it as spicy as you like it.

I find it remarkable that this recipe doesn’t contain any garlic.

This green chicken recipe is done ready in 1 hour and 15 minutes and is enough for 3-4 people.

Green chicken #279 from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 240.


  • 1 chicken of 1000 to 1200 grams
  • 1 tablespoon oil 1
  • 1/4 l water


  • 5 tablespoons chopped onions
  • 5 green lomboks (finely chopped and without seeds)
  • 5 roasted kemiries (candle nuts)
  • 1 teaspoon laos (galangal)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 stalk of sereh
  • salt
  1. Cut the chicken into coarse pieces.
  2. Grind onions, green lomboks, kemiries, galangal, ginger powder, turmeric and salt together into a paste.
  3. Stir-fry them in the oil until the onions are yellow.
  4. Then add the water, the lemongrass and the chicken pieces; cook until the chicken is cooked through and the stock has reduced to half the amount of water.

I use more chicken than the recipe says because we have eaters. I, therefore, increase the other ingredients by 1/3. I use at least 1,5 teaspoons of salt.

Kemirie nuts are super fatty nuts, which ensure that the sauce becomes creamy and binds together. They are slightly poisonous, but not if you heat them first. For a bumbu like this that you do not have to roast the nuts, because the bumbu is stir-fried, but I roast them anyway. This way I know for sure that they are safe and they grind much easier in the mortar now that they are warm.

I deseed the green peppers and chop everything finely, so grinding is easy. I don’t grind the bumbu super fine, because everything will simmer for a long time, anyway.

Then I stir-fry the bumbu in the pan with some oil until the onions are tender. Then I place the chickens in it and pour in the water (I boil the water first). I use the amount Beb states. Now that I have more chicken I use 1/3 more water or see if the chickens are submerged for the most part. Too much moisture causes the boiling down to take too long.

I cook this, with the lid off the pan, for at least 50 minutes. The chicken becomes completely tender and falls off the bone. I think it’s because of the green peppers, too.

The smell is really different from other Indonesian dishes. I think that’s because there is no garlic in the recipe. It smells a bit like a vegetable garden. The taste is different, much creamier and fresher than expected. Delicious with a nasi gurih; a rice cooked with santen (coconut cream).

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