Jakarta-Style Savory Rice Porridge (Bubur Ayam Betawi)

We cut down the cooking time for this healthy chicken stew by fortifying store-bought broth with chicken and aromatics and then using the flavorful liquid to both simmer the rice and make the gravy. Try subbing five fresh curry leaves if you can't find the Indonesian bay leaves.

Jakarta-Style Savory Rice Porridge (Bubur Ayam Betawi)
Prep Time:
1 hrs
Additional Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
6 servings


  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

  • 8 ounces chicken giblets (hearts, gizzards and/or livers)

  • 3 dried Indonesian bay leaves (see Tips)

  • 3 fresh kaffir lime leaves (see Tips) or 2 teaspoons chopped jarred

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and bruised (see Tips)

  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice, rinsed

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 5 large shallots, chopped

  • ¼ cup canola oil

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric

  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut cream (see Tips), well stirred

  • 6 tablespoons lightly toasted unsalted peanuts

  • 6 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

  • 6 teaspoons kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce; see Tips)

  • 6 teaspoons sambal oelek (see Tips)


  1. Combine broth, water, chicken, chicken hearts and/or gizzards, bay leaves, lime leaves and lemongrass in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over high heat, skimming the surface occasionally. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. (If using chicken livers, add them during the last 5 minutes of cooking.)

  2. Remove from heat and let stand until the chicken breasts (or thighs) are just cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165 degrees F, 5 to 10 minutes more. Transfer all the chicken parts to a clean cutting board and let cool. Shred the meat and slice the hearts, gizzards and/or livers. Set aside. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid, discarding the solids.

  3. Combine rice and 4 cups of the reserved cooking liquid in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice breaks down into porridge with a texture resembling slightly soupy oatmeal, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

  4. Meanwhile, combine shallots, oil, coriander, cumin, turmeric and white pepper in a food processor. Process to form a coarse paste, scraping down the sides once or twice. Transfer the mixture to a large skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until very lightly brown and barely sticking to the pan, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes more.

  5. Pour in the remaining chicken-cooking liquid and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add coconut cream, the reserved chicken and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  6. Divide the rice among 6 bowls. Top with about 1 cup of the chicken mixture, 1 tablespoon each peanuts and scallions and 1 teaspoon each kecap manis and sambal oelek.


Tips: Also known as daun salam, dried Indonesian bay leaves have an earthy, slightly sour flavor. Curry leaves can be used instead. Get them at Asian markets or online.

Kaffir lime leaves (or makrut or Thai lime leaves) lend lemony and floral notes to Southeast Asian dishes. There's no real substitute, but lime zest will work in a pinch. Find the leaves fresh, frozen or jarred in Asian markets and well-stocked supermarkets.

Find lemongrass, a woody, scallion-shaped herb with an aromatic lemon flavor, in the produce section of well-stocked supermarkets. Trim the root end and grassy top. Peel off the outer layer and prepare as directed in the recipe.

Coconut cream is the same as the solid that rises to the top in a can of coconut milk. Don't confuse it with cream of coconut, which is sweetened. Find it with canned coconut milk at most supermarkets.

Kecap manis is a thick, palm sugar-sweetened soy sauce used in Indonesian cooking. Find it at Asian markets or online. You can make a substitute by whisking equal parts molasses and reduced-sodium soy sauce.

Sambal oelek, a mix of chiles, brown sugar and salt, is a condiment found in the Asian section of most supermarkets.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

531 Calories
28g Fat
43g Carbs
30g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 531
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 11g
Added Sugars 4g 8%
Protein 30g 61%
Total Fat 28g 35%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 134mg 45%
Vitamin A 1765IU 35%
Vitamin C 6mg 7%
Folate 108mcg 27%
Sodium 685mg 30%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 6mg 31%
Magnesium 53mg 13%
Potassium 585mg 12%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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