Skill level

Average: 4 (12 votes)


  • 1 kg whole chicken, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 litre coconut milk
  • 10 salam leaves (see Note)
  • 10 Asian red eschalots, sliced
  • 500 g basmati rice
  • selection of krupuk (Indonesian rice crackers) (see Note), to serve

Green papaya sambal (sambal goreng labu jipang)

  • 7 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 9 long red chillies, 5 chopped, 4 thinly sliced
  • 5 cm-piece kencur (young galangal) (see Note) or 2 cm-piece ginger, crushed
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 cm piece galangal (see Note), grated
  • 3 salam leaves
  • 1 (about 500 g) small green papaya, cut into julienne
  • 1 litre coconut water (see Note)
  • 1 tbsp tamarind purée


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Store any leftover coconut milk sauce and shredded papaya in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Place chicken in a pan of water, bring to the boil, then remove from heat. Drain, then rinse chicken. Rub lime juice over chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes, to marinate.
Meanwhile, bring coconut milk, 5 salam leaves and 2 tsp salt to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring, for 12 minutes or until thick and oil separates from milk. Remove from heat. Transfer 175 ml infused coconut milk to a bowl and reserve for serving.

Heat the remaining coconut milk mixture over medium heat, add eschalots and cook for 4 minutes or until fragrant. Add chicken and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from heat. Remove chicken from mixture. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken, discarding skin and bones. Set aside. Strain coconut milk mixture, discarding the solids, and reserve for the fragrant rice.

To make fragrant rice, place rice, remaining 5 salam leaves, reserved coconut milk mixture and 250 ml water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. (If rice is not cooked, add a little water, 2 tbsp at a time, until tender.) Fluff with a fork, then remove from heat. Makes 4 cups. (You can also cook the rice in a rice cooker.)

Meanwhile, to make green papaya sambal, process garlic, chopped chillies, kencur, 1½ tsp salt and the sugar in a small food processor to a paste. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add spice paste, galangal and salam leaves, and cook for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add green papaya and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until softened.

Stir in coconut water, tamarind purée and sliced chillies and bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Using tongs, transfer to a serving bowl. Makes 6 cups.

Serve fragrant rice with shredded chicken, green papaya sambal, krupuk and reserved
coconut milk.



• Salam leaves are sometimes referred to as Indonesian bay leaves, but are actually more similar in flavour to curry leaves. Salam leaves and krupuk are from Asian food shops. 

• Kencur and galangal are from Asian food shops. Galangal is also from greengrocers.

• Canned coconut water is from supermarkets; buy the unsweetened version. Or use fresh coconuts and extract the water.

As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 14, pg75.

Photography by Armelle Habib