Recipes from Cocos (Keeling) Islands: Ayam Begana (Chicken Begana)

Recipes from Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Ayam Begana (Chicken Begana)

Country: Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Course: Main
Makes: 4 servings


  • 1 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, grated
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or ground
  • 5 shallots, minced or ground
  • 1 large onion, minced or ground
  • 1/2 cup curry powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 cup Sambal (Malaysian Chili Paste)
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of one lime
  • salt to taste


  1. Mix the chicken with the salt and turmeric. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so, then cook it over medium heat until it's almost done.
  2. Put the coconut flakes and the lemongrass in a food processor and puree, adding a little bit of water as needed, until you get a nice paste. (Hint: if you can only find sweetened coconut flakes, just put them in a fine mesh strainer and run some water over them until the water runs clear. This should flush away most of the sugar.)
  3. In a large pot, heat the oil and cook the garlic, shallots and onions with the chili paste, coriander and curry powder. Stir until fragrant, then add the chicken.
  4. Add the water about a tablespoon at a time (you may not need the whole cup) until the ingredients start to just become saucy and the chicken cooks all the way through.
  5. Add the lime juice and the coconut/lemongrass paste. Let simmer for five or 10 minutes, until the sauce dries out (this should be a pretty dry curry). Add salt to taste and serve.