Pepes Ayam aka Indonesian steamed chicken.

PEPES AYAM

I have been wanting to share this amazing recipe for sometime now.
PEPES refers to food, mainly chicken, fish or tofu, marinated in spices and steam cooked in  banana leaves.( something like the parsi patra ni machi) The marinade will include fresh herbs, and mostly lemon basil, which is the star here. Some tart flavours like green  tomatoes or BLIMBING WULUH( Also known as bilimbi, tree sorrel . This is an edible sour fruit.) , truely bring out the freshness of this dish.
So these pepes are normally eaten hot with steamed rice. . You can either wrap them in rectangles and seal the edges with a toothpick, or pack them like pyramids. Will add a video in comments section.

Fun facts..
Kemangi or lemon basil is a very close cousin of our tulsi.
Its mostly served in a lalapan, which is a raw salad consisting of torn cabbage leaves, green or red tomato wedges and Daun kemangi..these are eaten raw with any cooked chicken or meat dish.

Today I have used both..green tomato as well as Blimbing wuluh. Just for your idea. The main idea is to add tartness to the pepes.


Ingredients

1 chicken  with bones cut into small pcs
( about 700 gms) I cut the chicken into 12 pieces…

Marinate with  juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp salt and  1/2 tsp of black pepper.

Keep aside for 15 mins.

CHOP AND GRIND TOGETHER

10 pods garlic
12 shallots
8 candlenuts or about 10 cashewnuts
6 red chillies
1 inch piece of fresh turmeric
1 inch piece of galangal.
1/4 cup oil.
Blend untill its a fine paste.

Now take a wok, add this paste and another 1 to 2 tbsps of oil, saute on a low heat till cooked, fragnant and colour changes from yellow to reddish brown.
Cool this paste. Which will now look dry.
Once cool, mix in the chicken along with the marinade. Add some salt, msg( if using) and  coat the chicken pieces nicely.  Add the spring onions and all the basil leaves, mix properly . Ready to pack.

OTHER INGREDIENTS ..
Big squares of banana leaves
2 to 3 stalks of spring onions cut into chunks
Some lemon grass, bashed and cut slantingly.
Some fresh bay leaves.
And lots of Daun kemangi aka lemon basil or thai basil . These basil leaves are small and very fragrant. About 50 gms of leaves and tender stem.
2 or 3 green tomatoes cut into wedges.
( or use blimbing wuluh aka blimbi fruit)
Bird eye chillies as needed.


To assemble.

Take 2 sheets of banana leaves one on top of the other( check comments section for photos).
Put one or 2 fresh bay leaf
Add sliced lemon grass, top with chicken pieces, along with spring onions, basil leaves.
Again top with green tomato wedges and some bird eye chillies.
Pack the banana leaf in such a way that there should be no leakage of juices.

Steam these packets for about 30 to 40 mins.

Have hot with steamed jasmine rice.

You can make indivual packets with one or 2 pieces of chicken inside.

I got 6 packets of pepes.