Opor Ayam Kuning: Chicken in Turmeric & Coconut Milk

Opor ayam, or chicken simmered in turmeric and coconut milk, is a popular dish from Central Java. It is one of our favourite Eid recipes!

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Opor is a typical of Indonesian dish originating in Central Java. It is commonly prepared with chicken, egg, tofu or tempeh simmered in various spices and coconut milk. The result is a fragrant, rich and creamy dish fit for a special occasion.

Opor is associated with Eid, and is served to celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. After returning home from prayers at the mosque in the morning of the Eid, families in Java enjoy a bowl of ketupat (compressed rice cake) with opor and other dishes before receiving guests or visiting older relatives. On this happy occasion, opor is served with other Eid dishes, for example, sambal goreng labu siam and rendang sapi.

There are many variants of opor, distinguished by the type of the protein used, or the color of the dish. The most common one has a creamy white color. But for this recipe, fresh turmeric is added for more flavour, and to give a more vibrant yellow color, suitable for a special occasion. 


People also enjoy opor with steamed rice throughout the year, so you don’t have to wait until Eid to savour this dish. You will be able to find it on the menu in some restaurants in Indonesia. If you are adventurous enough, try this recipe and enjoy it with friends and family. Happy cooking!

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Opor Ayam Kuning: Chicken in Turmeric & Coconut Milk

Opor Ayam Kuning: Chicken in Turmeric and Coconut Milk

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Poultry
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Halal


Opor ayam, or chicken simmered in turmeric and coconut milk, is a popular dish from Central Java. It is often served on Eid, after the fasting month of Ramadan, and is suitable for people who can’t take spicy food.


  • 1/2 chicken, portioned, washed thoroughly
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • 8 shallots, peeled, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 4 cm turmeric, peeled, chopped
  • 4 cm ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 0.5 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 0.5 tsp ground white pepper
  • 4 cm galangal, peeled, sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised, knotted
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 4 cm whole cinnamon stick
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 750 ml water
  • 65 ml coconut milk


  1. Using a blender or food processor, blend to a smooth paste: shallots, garlic, turmeric and ginger.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat.
  3. Fry the blended spices, lemongrass, galangal and salam leaves until fragrant, around 4 minutes.

    Opor Ayam Kuning frying spices

  4. Add the cinnamon stick, ground coriander, cumin, white pepper, salt and sugar. Mix well.
  5. Add the chicken and fry in the spice mix for about 4 minutes.

    Opor Ayam Kuning add chicken

  6. Add water and mix well. Then add coconut milk.
  7. Add the hard boiled eggs. Stir well.

    Opor Ayam Kuning boil the ingredients

  8. When the soup boils, lower the heat to medium low. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is done.
  9. Transfer to a serving bowl.


  • This dish is best enjoyed with steamed white rice and as part of a big feast!

Keywords: Non-spicy, Turmeric, Coconut

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