Pickles and Tea Adventures in Asian American Cooking

Indonesian-Style Chicken-Mushroom Noodles (Bakmi Ayam Jamur)


When I was growing up, I ate this dish as often as an American kid might eat spaghetti. It was—and still is–my favorite comfort food. In Indonesia, you’ll find entire restaurants and food stalls dedicated to selling this local specialty. To make it even simpler to cook, my mom would use ground meat (usually pork because we’re not Muslim) in place of the chicken. If you have dumplings or fish balls lying around in your freezer, they make a happy complement to the soup.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small white onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds), boned, trimmed of skin and fat, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (save the bones for stock and the skin and fat for chicken oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper powder
8 ounces white or crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
8 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles or Italian egg linguine (or any noodle you prefer)
2 tablespoons Chicken Oil (see below, optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Fish sauce
4 small bunches Shanghai baby bok choy, blanched and halved
2 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought

1/4 cup fried shallots
4 green onions, chopped

Fish sauce
Sambal oelek or Sriracha chili sauce
Tomato ketchup


  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and garlic and stir and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir and cook until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms followed by the oyster sauce and sweet soy sauce. Keep stirring and tossing to coat the chicken and mushrooms evenly. Simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the ingredients have absorbed the sauce. Taste. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to remove starches.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the noodles with the chicken oil, sesame oil, a few dashes of fish sauce, and a handful of fried shallots and green onions. Set aside.
  5. To serve, divide the noodles into 4 individual bowls. Top with the chicken-mushroom mixture and baby bok choy. Garnish with more fried shallots and green onions.
  6. Pour 1/2 cup of chicken stock each into 4 small soup bowls and garnish with fried shallots and green onions. Serve noodles with bowls of soup and little dishes of fish sauce, sambal oelek , and tomato ketchup.

Chicken Oil

2 tablespoons canola oil
Chicken fat and skin
2 cloves garlic, crushed

In a small saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the chicken fat and skin and garlic and cook until the garlic turns golden brown and the chicken skin starts to curl, about 10 minutes. Strain and the oil is ready to use.

Pat’s notes:

If you can’t find sweet soy sauce, mix 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce and 3 tablespoons brown sugar together in a small bowl. Microwave on medium for 20 to 30 seconds. Stir to mix. The flavor is similar but the consistency will be thinner than store-bought. Makes 1/4 cup.


  • Filed Under

    July 23, 2014
    Comfort food
    Culture    Indonesian    
    Main ingredient    Noodles    Poultry    
    • Posted By

      Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Pat Tanumihardja writes about food, travel, and lifestyle through a multicultural lens. Pat especially enjoys covering topics that converge on food, history and culture and has been published in numerous international, national and regional publications. Her cookbook, The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook—Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens is a treasury of family recipes and stories spanning over a dozen Asian cultures.

      More about