Opor Ayam: Family Recipe for the Curious and Hungry to Try

A Banjar aunt reminisced “Oh yes, that was what your grandmother used to tell us – that your mother used to make everything better than “orang kita” (“our own people”). And that by any standards, is high praise indeed ~My Mother’s Table

One of the best family recipes that our friend, Intan so kindly shared with us is her mother’s Opor Ayam. For her, Opor is a dish that only the best of the best cooks her paternal family members can prepare. However, her mother has proved that wrong by getting such a praise by one of her Banjar aunts.

Opor is a type of dish cooked and braised in coconut milk from Indonesia, especially from Central Java. It is a popular dish that is usually served for Hari Raya Aidilfitri and is usually eaten with ketupat and sambal beef liver. Once you tried this family gem of a recipe, you will be begging for seconds!


  • 1 whole chicken – chopped into 12 pieces. (Cleaned)
  • Blended ingredients (blend finely in a food processor):
    • 3 fresh red chilies
    • 5 dried red chilies (soaked in hot water) or 2 tablespoons of chilli powder
    • Half a stick of the root-end of lemongrass
    • 10 red shallots or 2 large red onions
    • 5 gram of lengkuas
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 5 gram of young ginger root
    • 5 gram of fresh turmeric root or 1 tablespoon of dried turmeric powder
    • 2 sticks of lemongrass (bruised)
    • 3 pieces of asam keping
    • 2 large fresh tomatoes (chopped)
    • 4 fl oz of fresh first-pressed santan
    • 2 teaspoons of salt
    • 1 teaspoon of sugar
For garnish:
  • Chopped spring onions and chopped chinese celery leaf
  • 1/4 cup of flavorless cooking oil


  1. Heat oil in a pot. Fry the 2 sticks of bruised lemongrass.
  2. Fry the blended ingredients until fragrant and ‘pecah minyak‘ . This should take about 10 minutes on a medium fire with occasional stirring.
  3. Add the chicken pieces. Stir through and add in the chopped tomatoes.
  4. Cover the pot with a lid. Leave on a medium to low fire until it boils and chicken is cooked through. This should take about 20 minutes.
  5. Once chicken is cooked, add santan and seasoning. Leave pot lid off and boil on low fire.
  6. Once the colour of the dish has deepened to a rich orange colour and the oil has risen to the top, turn off the fire and put in the garnish.


A recipe is the best when it is well-preserved from generation to generation and this Opor Ayam recipe gives you the exact nostalgia feel that most city-dwellers and modern society so crave to taste. Let us know, if Intan’s Opor Ayam recipe speaks to you because to us, it definitely does!

Butterkicap Team

We're just a small group of friends who love food, culture and Malaysia. We saw the rise of mediocre food, deteriorating relationships and missed the good old days of Malaysia where food was good, homes were warmer and full of friends and family. So we rolled up our sleeves, and made Butterkicap with the hope that it will bring people and flavors home.

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