Tum Ayam (Balinese Steamed Ground Chicken)

Tum Ayam (Balinese Steamed Ground Chicken)

Tum Ayam (Balinese Steamed Ground Chicken)

Tum Ayam (Balinese Steamed Ground Chicken)

My paternal grand-aunt is totally the champion of steam cooking. I regret that I didn't learn much from her especially on wrapping food with banana leaves for steaming (I also suck at wrapping Christmas presents). Banana leaves are used a lot in Indonesian recipes as wrappers, especially for recipes with steaming and grilling methods, we call it pepes. It does do a very good job as neat wrappers, it also allows the heat to penetrate and cook the ingredients inside properly yet at the same time keeps the delicious juices in. Plus, it gives the contents with a slight grassy aroma which I find very nice. If green color has smell and taste, it must be like that. 

Today i'm cooking Tum Ayam, another popular Balinese recipe made out of ground chicken. The spices used in this recipe were quite a lot which made it very flavorful and rich. I am sure you can make a vegetarian version of it by using white tofu instead of ground chicken. I might try it one day. 


500 gr ground chicken,
6 thai chilies, deseeded and cut very thin,
250 ml coconut 
1 lemongrass stalk
1 tsp gula jawa (Indonesian palm sugar)
4-8 daun salam (Indonesian  bayleaf) for decoration
Banana leaf
oil for sauté

Ingredients to paste:

4 shallots, 
4 garlic
3 thai chilies, deseeded
3 candlenuts
2 cm fresh kencur (kaempferia galangal)
2 cm fresh galangal
2 cm fresh turmeric
½ tsp blackpepper
1-1½ tsp salt (adjust to your taste)

Cooking steps:

  1. Put the ingredients into an electric food processors and turn it into a smooth spice paste,
  2. Sauté the paste with oil on medium heat, add lemongrass and gula jawa. Continue cooking on medium heat until the gula jawa melts and the spice paste become fragrant. Once its ready, turn off the heat and set aside to cool,
  3. Prepare a mixing bowl, add the spice paste (make sure the spice paste is cold or room temperature) and ground chicken. Mix thoroughly,
  4. Add the thinly cut thai chilies and coconut milk. Mix thoroughly once again,
  5. Put 3 tbsp of the mixture and a single daun salam (Indonesian bayleaf) on banana leaves and wrap neatly, I used tooth picked to pin the leaves together on top,
  6. Wrap the rest of the mixture individually and steam it for about 20 minutes. 
  7. Tums are best served when its freshly cooked with a bowl of steamed rice. 

Happy cooking!!

Tum Ayam, Balinese Steamed ground chicken


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