Ayam kodok is not an everyday dish. It's for when you want to pull out the stops. It's a dish sure to impress. And while it may seem complicated and difficult, it really isn't that difficult to pull off.
Ayam kodok, which translates as frog chicken, gets its name from the way the chicken looks when it's deboned. Pull the bones from a chicken while keeping its skin intact and the result is something that looks remarkably like a frog in its general shape. The dish is essentially a galantine as a mortician might make it.
To bone the chicken, start at the neck. Loosen the skin around the wings and breast and cut the wings at the joint, freeing them from the body. Slip a boning knife under the skin and cut it loose from the back. The skin is most firmly attached to the spine of the bird. As you loosen the skin, pull it down over the breast. When you get to the thighs, cut them loose from the body. Take your time so you don't tear the skin. Push out the first joint of the wing (the drumette) and scrape the meat from the bone. Twist the bone to remove it from the elbow joint. To remove the drumstick (the leg of the chicken) use the back edge of a cleaver to break the bone about an inch from the bottom. Push the leg up and pull it away from the skin. Scrape the meat from the bone and reserve.
Once the bones are pulled from the bird, it is stuffed with a force meat mixture and boiled eggs. While in most of Indonesia it might be stuffed with ground chicken, I prefer it with some ground pork, guaranteeing a moist interior. Although usually just chicken eggs are used for stuffing the cavity, I also put one quail egg in each of the legs and wings. Cutting into the chicken and revealing the eggs is a fun little surprise for diners.
Force Meat Stuffing for Ayam Kodok
4 quail eggs, boiled and peeled
4 chicken eggs, 2 of them boiled and peeled
chicken meat from the boned chicken
3/4 lb ground pork (I used several Hmong sausages that I had on hand)
2 oz of cellophane noodles, softened in warm water
4 shallots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2-3 chilies, chopped (optional)
2-3 TBS fish sauce
2 TBS kecap manis
Cut chicken into one inch pieces. Add two raw eggs, pork, noodles, shallots, garlic, et al (everything except the boiled eggs) to food processor and pulse to make a homogenized mixture. Lay the chicken in a roasting pan, or dish for steaming, and proceed to stuff. Stuff the wings with some of the meat, then press in a quail egg and stuff in more of the meat mixture. Do the same for the legs. Stuff the main cavity with the rest of the mixture. Push the two boiled chicken legs down the middle of the breast, surrounding them with meat. The reconstituted chicken will be flatter than when it still had its bones, rather more frog-like in appearance. It is now ready to be baked or steamed.
Some recipes call for steaming the chicken before baking it. If you do this, you can prepare the chicken up through the steaming stage, then refrigerate or freeze it before the final roasting in the oven. This time I skipped the steaming and simply roasted the chicken in the oven the whole time. It took approximately an hour and 15 minutes in a 400º oven.
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