Sunday, 27 October 2013

Ayam Paniki - Sulawesi Style Spicy Coconut Chicken

Whilst doing the research for this recipe, I discovered that the word paniki means bats...  I thought it was a region or a city where the ayam or chicken dish originates from.  So yes, this dish was traditionally cooked using bat meat... Even though, they are still relatively easy to find here in Indonesia, I am sticking to the more popular version using chicken.

The thought about cooking this dish the traditional way did occur in mind... something for Halloween... but when I look at bats, they look just like rats with wings... don't they?

The bumbu for ayam paniki is pretty simple... at least for my version and you should be able to find all the ingredients at most supermarkets these days.  And the cooking process is also easy which is always nice to know.  You start by gently frying the finely chopped shallots, finely sliced red chillies and minced ginger in a little vegetable oil until softened.  Add a pinch of salt to prevent them from burning.  There are versions of ayam paniki to which ground turmeric is added for extra golden-ness, but it's entirely up to you. 

For this dish, you can use a whole chicken, cut into pieces but I prefer using all chicken thighs... they have more flavour compare to breast meat and also cheaper :)  Season the chicken with salt and white pepper then add them to the pan and cook until golden brown.  

Now add the chopped garlic and the lightly bruised lemongrass stalk.  I add the garlic last because if you add them too early in the cooking, they might burn and become bitter. Definitely don't want that and continue stirring for a couple of minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock and coconut milk, just enough to cover the chicken.  For one whole chicken or 8 pieces of chicken thighs, I used 400 ml of chicken stock and 100 ml of coconut milk.  To balance the heat from the chillies, add a couple teaspoons of crushed palm sugar or use dark muscovado sugar.  Let this comes to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is reduced. Stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Sprinkle with more fresh red chillies if you want and enjoy with a big pile of white rice. Yum.

Question of the day: Has anyone ever eaten bat meat? If yes, what did it taste like? chicken? If no, do you fancy trying it?


  1. Bat meat? Is that edible?Not for me..I am not that adventurous... I would love to try your chicken though. They look SUPER!

  2. Wow bat meat! I've never tried or even been offered it come to think of it! I guess it's like eating pigeon though and they might be raised for meat (rather than the random bats we get flying around! :) ).

  3. Super easy AND delicious?? You know this is my kind of meal!! :)

    Uhhhmmm.. I've never had bat meat.. didn't even know you could eat bat to be honest. Would I try it? Well... I guess it couldn't hurt me.... right? lol

  4. I guess it's not common bat, but fruit bat, a kinda giant size bat with fruits only diet.....
    Damn, this must be delicious, the color reminens the spiciness of any sort of Menadonese food....

  5. Michael, I think I will just stick with the chicken. Love the coconut milk, lemongrass, and mostly the red spicy chilli peppers. for bat?...even the sound of it is SCARY...I think I'll pass!

  6. This sounds completely amazing Michael, love the sweet spicy flavours and coconut milk ftw- with chicken I mean, not sure I could do bat unless very drunk.