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Easy Indonesian Chicken

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“Wanted to keep this recipe a secret! But what the heck -- I enjoy Zaar so much, why be miserly?? Years ago I cut the recipe from a newspaper food column, and it hides, yellowed, in an old recipe scrapbook. I make it every now and then and I guarantee that it's a quick, easy, gourmet meal! The original recipe specified rice vinegar, but I use balsamic. EDITED ON JAN 8, 2010: Although I posted the recipe as I use it, it seems the 1 cup water specified caused problems for some cooks, so I've lessened the amount. If you use only 1/2 cup as below, do keep a close eye on the reducing sauce in case it thickens too much. And please -- DO taste the sauce before removing from the heat. Some people like it with more hot pepper, and some may want to tweak the other ingredients. Chicken breast is a little too dry for this recipe, so I stand by the point that thighs, even with skin, are the better option.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a fairly large pot, mix the water, sugar, balsamic vinegar, ketjap manis, garlic and chilli pepper sauce.
  2. Please note that because I use metric measurements I use a little more than 1/3 cup ketjap manis. It's hard to work out precisely. Ketjap manis are normally easily found in good shops, on the shelves with Oriental sauces.
  3. Ketjap manis is thick and sticky, so if you want to measure it in a cup, best is to spray the cup with non-stick spray. I pour from the bottle and guess the amount by now --.
  4. Cut each thigh into two pieces, or slice breasts into three or four pieces across the grain.
  5. We far prefer chicken thighs, which are more juicy and tasty than breast meat. Or use deboned breasts WITH the skin.
  6. Add to the sauce mixture, and bring to a boil. Simmer open, for about 25 minutes. If any scum rises to the surface, skim it off.
  7. Increase heat and cook sauce until it reduces and thickens, but don't let it cook down to a glaze: you want some sauce for the rice.
  8. (It used to be "1 cup water", but reading through the reviews, this was too much for some cooks, although it really is what I use).
  9. This reduction will only take 5 - 10 minutes or so: judge for yourself.
  10. Put the chicken and sauce in a heated dish, scatter over the spring onions and parsley, and decorate around the edges with the lime/lemon curls or strips.
  11. Serve with jasmine or white rice, but couscous is also nice. As for vegetables, a platter of steamed baby veggies such as corn, patty pan squash and carrots look attractive.

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