Ayam Jeruk (Grilled Chicken and Toasted Coconut Salad)

  • Serves

    serves 2-4


For this vibrantly spiced Balinese dish, finely shredded grilled chicken is tossed in an aromatic sambal with lime juice and toasted coconut. This recipe first appeared in our May 2014 issue with the story Spice of Life.


  • 1 12 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 2 34 cups canola oil
  • 1 coconut, cracked open and shredded
  • 12 small Asian shallots or 4 medium regular shallots, thinly sliced
  • 14 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 14 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 14 tsp. whole corainder
  • 1 Balinese long pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp. ground tumeric
  • 16 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 candlenuts or unsalted macadamia nuts
  • 1 (12") piece galangal, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 23 cup coconut milk, preferably UHT from a carton
  • 12 tsp. Indonesian shrimp paste
  • 5 small red Thai chiles, stemmed
  • 1 Holland chile, stemmed
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cooked white rice, for serving


Step 1

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high.) Rub chicken with 2 tbsp. oil; grill, flipping once, until cooked through, 40–45 minutes. Let cool, then discard bones; finely shred meat and skin. Transfer to a bowl.

Step 2

Heat a 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook coconut until golden, 12–15 minutes; add to chicken. Add 2 cups oil and 3⁄4 of the shallots to pan; heat over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are golden brown and crisp, 10–12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper towels to drain; set aside. Discard oil.

Step 3

Grind nutmeg, peppercorns, coriander, and long pepper, if using, in a spice grinder into a powder; transfer to a small food processor. Add turmeric, half the garlic, the candlenuts, galangal, and 3 tbsp. water; purée into a smooth paste. Add 2 tbsp. oil to pan; heat over medium-high. Cook paste until fragrant, 2–3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with chicken. Add coconut milk to pan; simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, 2 minutes. Let cool; add to chicken mixture.

Step 4

Add remaining shallots and garlic, the paste, chiles, and salt to food processor; purée into a smooth paste. Heat remaining oil in a 10″ skillet over medium-high heat; fry paste until golden, 6–7 minutes. Let cool; add to chicken mixture. Stir in half the fried shallots, the lime leaves, and juice; garnish with remaining shallots. Serve with rice.

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