Stir-fried Cumin Chicken (Ayam Goreng Berjintan)

Does your cookbook and magazine shelf look like this?

Our Cookbook and Magazine Shelf with Tabs for Saved Recipes

Our Cookbook and Magazine Shelf with Tabs for Saved Recipes

Even though my friends say I never seem to cook the same thing, I do have some familiar and go-to dishes that I prepare more often than others. And yet my cookbook and magazine collection has all these tabs marking recipes that I want to cook “someday”. Today, as I was thinking of making one of my regular chicken dishes for dinner, I thought, why not try something different?

So I went looking through my Malaysian cookbooks to get ideas for something different to cook. One recipe in particular that I had bookmarked a while back caught my eye. This recipe for Ayam Goreng Berjintan (Stir-Fried Cumin Chicken) is not one I’ve tasted before. But I had all the ingredients and the recipe looked easy enough. Good enough for me!

Ayam Goreng Berjintan (Stir-fried Cumin Chicken)

adapted from Homestyle Malay Cooking


2-3 lb whole chicken, cut into 12 pieces
1 tsp salt
Sprinkling of ground white pepper
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
3/4 inch fresh ginger, peeled
5 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water (or a little less)


1. Sprinkle salt and pepper over all the chicken parts and set aside.

2. Dry-roast the cumin, fennel and black peppercorns (today, I ran out of black peppercorns so I added some whole white peppercorns) over low heat until fragrant and crisp, about 2 minutes, taking care not to burn. Cool the spices and then grind them fine in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle.

Fennel, Cumin, Black and White Peppercorns

Fennel, Cumin, Black and White Peppercorns

3. Grind the ginger and garlic to a smooth paste in a food processor. Set aside.

4. Heat the oil in a wok (or large frying pan), and stir-fry the ginger and garlic paste over medium heat, for about 30 seconds.

Stir-Frying Ginger and Garlic Paste

Stir-frying ginger and garlic paste

5. Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry to coat with garlic for about 10 minutes over medium heat.

Chicken coated with Garlic-Ginger Paste

Chicken coated with Garlic-Ginger Paste

6. Add the ground spices and make sure chicken is coated with spices. Stir-fry for another 10 minutes over medium heat.

Chicken coated with ground spices

Chicken coated with ground spices

7. Add water and bring to boil. Scrape bottom of wok to release any spices that may have stuck on. Turn down heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until chicken pieces are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.

8. Plate up and enjoy!

Ayam Goreng Berjintan (Stir-Fried Cumin Chicken)

Ayam Goreng Berjintan (Stir-Fried Cumin Chicken)

What I liked about this recipe is that the spices were fragrant and warming but not so spicy that my kids couldn’t eat it. As a matter of fact, they gobbled up the chicken quite easily so that fact alone makes this recipe a do-over.

Cheers, Annie

14 thoughts on “Stir-fried Cumin Chicken (Ayam Goreng Berjintan)”

  1. >Wow, that looks like a very simple recipe and I bet the smell is amazing!

    My cookbook shelf looks like a very sloppy version of yours.

  2. >I used to put tabs (lots of tabs) until I lost track of my tagging.

    Maybe my son will luv it since it is not so spicy. Nice photo!

  3. >DEfinitely a big NO, they dont look any close to what you have, You definitely have a vivid taste for cooking.

  4. >The chicken sounds great! I’ll cook spicy for myself but my husband and son have much milder leaning palates.

    I never can keep magazines for long. I always end up needing to purge my stash.

  5. >this is a lovely recipe, we have them here too, so no need to deep fry them, lovely, the more crispy, the more fragrant they are to be! lovely

  6. >You are so organised! I have to spend some time searching for recipes all the time =P The chicken looks good, the spices must have given it a lot of flavor ^_^

  7. >Nice looking chicken dish.

    ps-yes, my bookshelf does look like that… except i use paper bookmarks instead of nice colourful tags. my family keeps wondering when i’ll get through all the books with my bookmarks because i havent touched the books since i last put the bookmarks in *blushes*

  8. >@Jenster – oh, this is only one shelf out of four bookcases. I won’t be showing those other ones.

    @foodfortots – thanks! do give it a try.

    @ramya – what does your shelf look like?

    @maggie – oh, I feel so bad about having to get rid of food magazines.

    @bigboysoven – uh, not sure what you mean. We didn’t deep fry our chicken.

  9. >@noobcook – the Internet is great for searching for recipes but sometimes you just have to flip through pages.

    @angie – I know all about marking but not cooking recipes.

    @Carolyn – oh, that pic was just the organized part 😉

  10. >My cookbook shelf is much, much larger — so imagine all the stickies I have for the recipes I’ve marked! I’ll never have time to make all of the recipes I find, but I have such a fun time reading through my cookbooks.

  11. >I very much want to try this dish: I’m just afraid that my family wouldn’t be into this dish. Generally, they have a fear of fennel and cumin! So, I guess I have to make this for myself. LOL

    I love this recipe and hope you feature more Malay home-style dishes in your blog. Loving the series Annie’s mother cooked, especially the steamed egg tofu.

  12. >@js – fennel and cumin aren’t so bad! When you’re eating it in front of them, keep saying, “mmm, Mmmm!”

    We’ll definitely be featuring more Malaysian home-style food as long as Mum is around.

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