Ayam Tuturuga

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Another Manadonese dish from Tante Lily's archives. The word Tuturuga, meaning turtle in Manadonese, was inherited from the Portuguese word Tartaruga with the same meaning. The name comes from the 'bumbu' they use when they cook the tuturuga. Likewise with the paniki, or bat, which has a certain spice paste reserved for cooking this very meat. Relax ... there were absolutely no turtles harmed in the creation of this dish.

Now most Manadonese today have shied away from exotic meats like these, but the bumbus are so unique and distinctive that they continue to be called that way, even if you are now cooking it with chicken or fish, or tofu for that matter.

This bumbu Tuturuga is so flavourful, just scroll down to the ingredients list. All Manadonese spice pastes start with shallots, ginger and chillies. It's the holy trinity of the region's cooking. The candlenuts function as cashews in Indian cuisine, when blended it not only gives a wonderful thick consistency to the curry, but a nutty warm flavour as well. But it's the kaffir lime, lemongrass, sweet basil and mint leaves that make this dish truly special and gives it so much aroma.

It's been a long time since I've cooked a Manadonese dish, and this cold blustery day seemed like a good opportunity to have a belly warming meal. Weather aside, if you are adventurous in your cooking, please do give it a try. It is so delicious, chock full of herbs and spices, and Tante Lily will be so happy :D

4 whole thighs and drumsticks
4 shallots, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic
15 - 20 red chilies
8 -10 candlenuts (can be substituted with macadamia nuts)
4 cm cut of ginger
3 cm cut of turmeric
2 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 3 and bruised
15 kaffir lime leaves, julienned
5 stalks of spring onion
1 Bunch of sweet basil leaves (kemangi), leaves, julienned
1 Bunch of mint leaves, leaves julienned
480 ml (2 cups) coconut milk
Salt to taste

1. In a heavy bottomed fry pan, stir fry shallots in a little oil till browned and fragrant.
2. Grind (uleg) or process the garlic, chilies, candlenut, ginger and turmeric to make a paste.
3. Add this to the shallots, cooking until oil starts separating from the spice paste.
4. Add the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, along with the chicken pieces.
5. Cook the exterior of the chicken, flipping after a few minutes just to seal and sear the surface, or skin of the chicken (if using)
6. Add the coconut milk, cover and cook on low heat until chicken is cooked through.
7. Stir in the spring onions, sweet basil and mint, turn off the heat.
8. Serve immediately with steaming hot rice and dabu-dabu.

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