Souperinspiration | Nanny’s Javanese Opor Ayam
If my daughter, Isabella, were to tell her story about her childhood food memories, this soup would certainly come out tops in her mental scrapbook of nostalgia!
Both my children are immensely fond of their nanny of nine years, and it’s really not hard to see why. Our family has been greatly blessed by her help and her love for us all. She is also a wonderful cook who straddles easily between traditional favourites and localised fusion food. Isabella loves her Javanese style chicken dish in particular and for years, she remains content to enjoy it simply with plain rice.
A common staple found also in Brunei and many parts of Indonesia and Malaysia, this is a non-spicy chicken stew braised in coconut milk with candlenuts, blue ginger, kaffir lime leaves, tumeric, shallots and lemongrass. Looking and tasting a lot like curry or sayur lodeh, I credit this stew to Isabella’s increasing tolerance and even fondness for spicy curry! Taking inspiration from Isabella’s nanny’s traditional Javanese recipe, I have given this dish a fresh twist by adding petai and tempeh, combining them with belado, a spicy eggplant dish.
Years from now, will Isabella still remember the tang of the spices, the comfort of the coconut? Will she still yearn for the simplicity of homecooked food prepared with love? Will she remember the people behind the food stories? I can’t be sure, but for now, I’m excited to serve this dish to remember and celebrate my daughter’s memories on the table.
Ingredients: marinated chicken, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, leek, tomatoes, firm beancurd, french beans, egglplant, petai, tempeh, sharksfin melon, round cabbage, shallots, candlenuts, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, tumeric, white pepper, daun salam, kaffir lime leaves, vermicilli, coconut cream.
Condiments: homemade chilli, chopped chinese celery leaves, fried shallots, and lime wedge.