Holiday Eats with the Chefs

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Balinese roasted chicken or ayam betutu, courtesy of chef Khairudin Nor of The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah, Ubud.

By Chef Khairudin Nor
The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia


  • 1kg whole chicken
  • 300g pre-made Bumbu Bali

Bumbu Bali (Balinese Spice Mix)

  • 500g shallots
  • 250g garlic
  • 350g galangal
  • 250g fresh turmeric
  • 25g coriander seeds
  • 100g fresh ginger
  • 50g aromatic ginger/white turmeric
  • 100g lemongrass stalk
  • 25g bird’s eye chilli
  • 25g ground black pepper


  1. Place all the ingredients for Bumbu Bali in a blender with 1-2 tablespoons of water and blend till coarsely grounded and evenly mixed. Pan-fry the spice mix lightly (on medium heat) with a small amount of vegetable oil until it is golden brown. Set aside to cool (about 15 minutes) before using the mixture to marinate the chicken.
  2. Marinate the whole chicken with Bumbu Bali—rub the spice mix on the inside and outside of the chicken to ensure full and even coverage. Wrap the marinated chicken in banana leaf, keeping in mind to secure the leaf so that the chicken is not exposed.
  3. The chicken will be cooked using an old-style pressure-cooking technique by burying the traditional claypot in the ground: the claypot is first placed in the ground and covered with a thin layer of soil before hot, burning coffee wood, coconut husk and charcoal are placed over it for six hours. This traditional slow-cooking technique allows the chicken to absorb the spices to produce the tenderness of a braise with the finish of a roast.
  4. A more modern way of preparing this dish using an oven would be to first wrap the marinated chicken with banana leaves, followed by parchment or baking paper and lastly, with aluminum foil. Make sure the aluminum foil seals the chicken securely. Cook the wrapped chicken in the oven for 3.5 hours at 180 degrees Celsius. Refrain from using a pressure cooker as you may not achieve the desired taste and consistency of this dish.
  5. Serve with Balinese white or red rice and enjoy the richness of the Balinese spices with your Ayam Betutu.
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