Opor, Eid Celebration Culinary in Java

Eid is a day of victory for Muslims who have been fasting for a month. That’s why Eid is a moment awaited by most Muslims. The excitement will be very visible in a country with a Muslim majority like in Indonesia. Welcoming the victory day the Muslim community in Indonesia used to hold parties. Various foods are made to accompany that happiness. Opor is the Eid celebration culinary; Eid specialties.

The Eid Philoshophy

In Indonesia, during Eid, everyone, relatives, neighbors will visit each other and apologize. Even those who live in other cities will be very happy to return home to gather with large families. And to welcome relatives, families will serve special dishes.

At first the various dishes that were omitted were manifestations of the teachings and sunnah of the Prophet. The teachings and sunnah are interpreted and adapted to local customs. Then serve as Eid special cuisine. Typical Eid dishes include ketupat and nasi uduk (seasoned steam rice).

Ketupat or kupat for the Javanese people means “ngaku lepat” or “admitting own mistake”. Confess all mistakes. Combined with coconut milk soup which is literary in Javanese called “santen” represents the word “nyuwun pangapunten or “asking for forgiveness”. Verbally “santen” reads as “apologizing both physically and mentally”.

Serving ketupat with coconut milk to the guests who came for halal bi halal is a symbol that the host acknowledges his mistake and apologizes. For guests, eating ketupat means to accept the apology. So in the old days Javanese people forgive each other without having to verbally apologize. For people who are in conflict asking forgiveness is a hard thing. There is anger, humiliation, and shame to admit. Beyond all that, eating ketupat together on Eid day they forgive one another without being humiliated. This is the reason why opor has become Eid celebration culinary.

Nasi uduk (seasoned steamed rice) is an adaptation of the Prophet’s favorite menu. The Prophet used to eat nasi lemak, which is rice cooked with milk. Javanese people adapted the recipe to nasi uduk; cooked rice with coconut milk. If the dishes are served alone, it will certainly be ridiculous. Then the people serve the ketupat and nasi uduk with various appropriate side dishes and vegetables. Some various dishes are regularly served to accompany the ketupat or the nasi uduk that in some point everybody serves them during the Eid. These cuisines become the special dishes of Eid.

One of the complementary dishes is opor with a combination of fried chili sauce. Enlivening the main dishes is also served klethik-klethik or snacks; chips from melinjo, fried peanuts cooked with garlic, and various souvenirs from family members going home from another cities or sometimes from abroad.

Opor Recipe

The following is my family’s favorite chicken opor. Because my daughter does not eat meat and fish since she was a baby, then here I add tofu and boiled chicken eggs.

Eid celebration culinary
Opor, the culinary legend in Java


500 gr chicken breast, cut in some big chunks, wash thoroughly, boil twice (after 5 minutes in boiling water, throw away the first boiling water then boil again in 500 ml of water until the broth is formed in approximately 15 minutes)

5 blocks of tofu, cut into half

4 boiled eggs, put some more if you wish

Mashed ingredients:

8 shallots
6 garlic cloves
4 pecan nuts
1 tsp granular pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cm of ginger, peeled and wash
1/3 of nutmeg

Other ingredients:

1 lemongrass stem, just take the white part, smash it
2 bay leaves
5 cm galangal, smash it
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 star anise
3 cm cinnamon
3 cloves
3 cardamom
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
500 ml chicken broth
3 tbsp of cooking oil to saute the spices
200 ml of light coconut milk
500 ml thick coconut milk

Cooking time:

  1. Get the chicken broth along with the chicken breast to boil in a pan.
  2. Heat a skillet, add the cooking oil. If the oil is hot enough, add the mashed seasoning. Stir until half cooked and then add kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves, galangal and lemongrass. If the spices smell good, add cinnamon, squeaks, cloves and cardamom. Stir it until it’s golden brownies.
  3. Add 3 large spoons of chicken broth obtained from the boiling chicken to the skilled. Take the skillet up, pour all the sauteed spices into the pan containing boiled chicken. Bring to a boil for at least 3 minutes.
  4. When it’s boiling, add the tofu. Wait until the tofu getting bigger. Add the light coconut milk. Bring to a boil while continuing to stir. Add boiled eggs and brown sugar.
  5. Wait until it comes to boil again, then add the thick coconut milk. Stir constantly slowly over low heat. Keep stirring for at least 20 minutes. 20 minutes is important to remove the aroma of thick coconut milk. After 20 minutes, add the salt, stir briefly then turn off the stove. Serve the chicken opor with ketupat or warm rice, don’t forget to sprinkle fried shallots.
  6. Bon apetit!!

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