Ajam (or Babi) Ketjap

Today Marleen has been teaching me to make this Indonesian dish – chicken (ayam) or pork (babi) marinated in sweet soy sauce – which she serves with Nasi goreng. Quick cooking keeps the meat moist and the marinade makes a deeply savoury sauce that goes well with rice. The meat needs to be put in the marinade ahead of time, but the actual cooking only takes a few minutes.

image3 cloves garlic
2 thumbs ginger, peeled, one minced, one whole
1 tbsp kikkoman soy sauce
3 tbsp ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce)
2 tbsp peanut oil (or other flavourless oil)
A good squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
4 skinless chicken breasts – 450-500g total (or pork – see below)

Crush the garlic, and put into a bowl large enough to hold the chicken with the ginger, soy sauce, ketjap manis, lemon juice and sugar, season with pepper (not salt because of the soy sauce) and stir together.

Cut each chicken breast across into about 4 or 5 strips and put into the ketjap mixture to marinade for at least an hour, and up to 3 hours. You can use pork instead of chicken, either pork fillet or shoulder chops, cutting the pork into small cubes, and cutting out any bones from the chops.

Heat a large frying or sauté pan and add a nut of butter and a splash of oil to stop it burning. When the butter and oil are hot add half the chicken, using a slotted spoon to take it out of the dish. Cook briskly, turning the pieces so that they cook evenly, for about 2-3 minutes (longer if the chicken breasts are thick and longer still if using pork). Put aside on a warm plate, and cook the second half of the meat. Pour the rest of the marinade into the pan, letting it bubble up and reduce. Add all the chicken back into the pan and stir together, then take out the whole piece of ginger, turn into a warmed serving dish, and serve with rice or Nasi Goreng.


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