Ayam Penyet is quickly becoming a favoured street stall food, (equivalent to side-walk cafes of the west). It originated in Java and has penetrated the straights between Indo and Singapore. It is now quickly gaining popularity in Malaysia and I suspect that we will see it in Thailand fairly soon (or a customised version). It is a very moreish food and always enjoyed.

One question that is frequently asked is the association between European Bay-leaves and Indian Bay leaves. There really is no connection. At the moment I don't think that it is commonly available in the west other than Australia. I would ask an Indonesian restaurant if they could supply or advise you of a supply. It's probably worth seeing your local spice supplier (supermarket) and asking if they can get it on their shelves.

"Indian Bay leaf" is the leaf of the Syzygium polyanthum and not that of Laurus nobilis, the more familiar western "Bay Leaf". Indian Bay Leaf is used in a number of Asian dishes.

As for the name I can't quite work it out? I have seen descriptive references to slightly pounding the chicken with the spices in preparation but have not come across a specific recipe where this is the process. The spices are pounded but that is really common in South East Asian Cuisine. Even using filleted chicken is not standard as there are as many recipes using boned chicken as not although generally the recipes call for the drumsticks only.

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  • 6 large chicken legs, deboned or the fillet of the carcass of a complete large chicken
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves (daun salam; "Indian Bay Leaves")
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds (ketumbar)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin (jintan manis)
  • 2 tbsp thick coconut milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • Ingredients to grind:
  • 120g lengkuas (galangal), peeled and sliced
  • 1 red chillie, seeded
  • 2 cm knob tumeric (1 tsp turmeric powder)
  • 4 slices ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 candlenuts (bush keras)

Accompanying Sambal:
  • 5 red chillies
  • 4 bird's eyes chillies
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar
  • Fresh lime

  1. Fry coriander seeds over slow fire till fragrant then grind coarsely.
  2. Wash chicken and drain well.  Prick chicken all over with a fork.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine ground spices with ground cumin, coriander, salt, sugar, coconut milk and crushed serai.  Add chicken and mix thoroughly.  Leave to marinade for 30 minutes.
  4. Grease base of cooking pot with some cooking oil.  Arrange chicken in pot, add crushed bay leaves.  Cover pot and cook over moderate heat for 8 minutes.  Turn chicken over, cover pot and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until almost dry.  Remove chicken and drain off excess liquid.
  5. Grill or roast chicken on high heat, 250 deg C until golden brown on both sides.
  6. Prepare the Sambal by grinding roughly all the ingredients. Then sauté with small amount of oil until it's fragrant for a couple of minutes. When it's ready sprinkle with lime juice and then serve with the chicken.
Reference: Rose's Kitchen