Ketupat and Opor Ayam, Lebaran Dish in Indonesia
Eid al-Fitr is a huge Islamic holiday, celebrated festively all over the world. In Indonesia, this holiday is known as Idul Fitri or Lebaran. Just like in other parts of the Islam world, Indonesia also has unique Lebaran dishes to celebrate this period. In Indonesia, the dishes that always present during the festivity are Ketupat and Opor Ayam.
The combination of these two dishes creates a wonderful and unique flavor. The flavor is one of the reasons why this combo is so popular during Lebaran. Here is what you need to know about ketupat and Opor Ayam, a ubiquitous dish during Lebaran.
This is a rice cake wrapped in a diamond-shaped woven palm leaf. As a matter of fact, ketupat is popular not only in Indonesia but also in the neighboring countries like Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Singapore. Ketupat usually has several side dishes and rarely served alone. Usually, It tastes a bit savory and salty. Most people usually get one ketupat per serving.
To make it simple, opor ayam is a dish made from chicken and coconut milk soup. The cooking process is rather straightforward. Chicken is cooked in coconut milk. You can then add a mixture of spices that includes galangal, lemongrass, cinnamon, palm sugar, tamarind, garlic, shallot, pepper, and coriander. When the cooking process is finished, usually you will get a yellow broth with flavorful chicken.
According to historians, opor ayam already existed even before Islam entered Indonesia. Opor ayam is originally a royal dish from Central Java. Commoners cook opor to be presented to the kings when the king comes to their village. Initially an elite dish, now opor ayam is now a popular delicacy that is available for everyone.
Symbol of apology
Interestingly, ketupat was also already popular even before Islam came to Indonesia. However, Islam missionaries in Java tried to take a cultural approach to spread their religion. They use ketupat (or kupat in Java) as one of the means to get to the masses. Kupat is short for ‘kula nderek lepat’ (admitting mistakes and sins). That is in line with the spirit of Eid al-Fitr which is returning to the purity through the forgiveness.
It must be noted that you still can find ketupat and opor ayam throughout the year. You might eat ketupat sayur, a popular breakfast dish in many cities. You can also enjoy opor ayam in many Javanese restaurants every day. However, the combination of ketupat and opor ayam exists almost exclusively during Lebaran. Most families cook their own dish for this occasion.
In conclusion, Ketupat and opor ayam are like a heavenly combination that resulted in wonderful flavor. Finally, there is something about these dishes that give you a sense of celebration and festivities.