Most people have heard of Bali. Sometimes, people know about Bali but never heard about Indonesia. Hehe..
Bali is the most popular destination in Indonesia. This island have it all, beautiful beaches, amazing temples, nice weather, nice people, and of course, superb culinary. chicken betutu is one of most famous Balinese dish. If you ever been to Bali, there’s a big chance you have tasted chicken betutu.
Authentically, chicken betutu was cooked by smothering and filling whole chicken with seasoning. And then, the chicken was wrapped in banana leaf, put into a hole in the ground and covered by rice husk charcoal and cooked for hours.
Today, however, there are modification in the way of cooking chicken betutu. People use oven instead rice husk charcoal. There’s several different ways to cook chicken betutu. Some like to steam the chicken inside banana leaf and then put it in the oven. Others like to cook it straight in the oven or boiling the chicken with all the seasoning.
I took a cooking class to learn how to cook chicken betutu. And this was how the chef cooked it: First, she prepared and cooked all the seasoning, shallot, garlic, lots of chili pepper, lemongrass, etc. Next, she mixed the seasoning with uncooked cassava leaves, stuffed the cassava leaves inside a chicken, and smother the chicken with the seasoning. She put the stuffed chicken in a tin, added water and salt, covered the tin with aluminum foil, and cooked it in the oven for an hour.
It tasted delicious, but so spicy. Like you-would-feel-faint level of spicy. I won’t say that the recipe was wrong, because Balinese cooking is mostly spicy. But I’d like to keep my taste bud after eating a chicken, thank you very much.
So I went home, and tweaked the recipe a little bit. I cut the amount of chili pepper to half from the original recipe. It was still hot and spicy, let me assure you. For those who is not a fan of spicy food, you might want to reduce the amount of chili pepper even more. Removing the chili all together can be done, but you cannot call it chicken betutu anymore. Because, well, Balinese chicken betutu supposed to be spicy.
I also skipped the cassava leaves. I liked it, but I just wanted to have something simpler. Instead a whole chicken, I used cut chicken. I used the same method. I put the chicken in a Pyrex dish, added the seasoning and water, covered it with aluminum foil, and cooked it in the oven for an hour.
The aroma! How fragrant and tasty it was smelled after you put it out from the oven and open the cover. The water had darkened, the chicken was cooked. Now, the chicken betutu is ready to eat just then. But I actually add one more step, that was pan seared my chicken with a little oil to get the nice color.
Don’t forget to serve the broth along with the chicken. The spiciness mostly contained in that tasty golden broth. The chicken itself tasted mild. This way my husband who doesn’t like spicy food still can enjoy it, he just opted not to eat the broth.
Since vegetable is a must in my table, I served the chicken betutu along with some fried peanut and Plecing kangkong. It’s boiled kangkong with chili sambal, another Balinese favorite.
That was an awesome Balinese lunch right there!
Now if you’re ready to bring a taste of Balinese to your home, below the recipe for simplified Balinese Chicken Betutu. Enjoy!
- 1 kg chicken
- 3 cloves garlic
- 10 pcs shallot
- 10 pcs cayenne pepper
- 5 pcs chili pepper
- 5 cm ginger
- 1 tsp coriander
- 3 cm kencur (Kaempferia galanga)
- 3 cm turmeric
- 5 pcs candlenut
- 3 gr terasi (shrimp paste)
- 5 cm galangal
- 2 pcs lemongrass
- 10 pcs lime leaf
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 200 ml water
- Mince garlic, shallot, lemongrass, cayenne pepper, chili pepper
- Blend together ginger, coriander, kencur, turmeric, candlenut, terasi until smooth (Add water if needed)
- In a pan, heat up cooking oil and sauté with medium heat shallot, garlic, cayenne, and chili pepper for 1 minute.
- Add the blended ingredient and continue cooking until fragrant (about 3 minutes). Stir to prevent burning.
- Remove the seasoning from heat.
- In a baking tin or Pyrex dish, put the chicken, smother it with the seasoning, add water, salt, pepper, lime leaf, and galangal.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil
- Bake it in the oven 170 C, for 1 hour.
- If you like, pan sear or grill the chicken.
- Serve the chicken with the broth.