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Three Ways to Make Indonesian Spicy Chicken

Updated on May 2, 2014

Spice up your life with Indonesian Chicken Dishes

My Three Favourite Recipes for Indonesian style chicken, easily made in any kitchen, by any level of cook and guaranteed to spice up your life!

Indonesian food is one of the most vibrant and colourful cuisines in the world, full of intense flavour and varied textures. It's as diverse as the Indonesian culture, with culinary influences from China, Europe and India.

That's why it's so rich in flavours and, unlike food from anywhere else, as much about the aroma as the taste. It's spicy, delicious, brightly coloured and richly scented.

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: 4


  • medium size chicken chopped into frying pieces
  • ¼ cup sliced shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 tsp. crushed dried red hot chili
  • 5 candlenuts crushed
  • pinch turmeric
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs. Vegetable oil
  • 1 thick slice ginger
  • 1 stalk lemon grass


  1. Blend the shallots, garlic, chili, candlenut, salt and sugar with ¼ cup of the coconut milk into a paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok and saute the paste for a minute or two until you can smell the aroma.
  3. Place the chicken, ginger and lemon grass into the wok and stir fry for five minutes or more over medium heat.
  4. Add the rest of the coconut milk, and let it cook for forty five minutes, stir the chicken frequently.
  5. It is ready to be served if the sauce is somewhat thickened and the chicken tender.
Cast your vote for Recipe : Ayam Bumbu Rujak
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 4

Recipe : Ayam Goreng Lengkuas

  • Chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 tbsp Shredded galangal
  • 5 tbsp Oil
  • 2 Salam leaves or bay leaves as substitute
  • 1 stalk Lemon grass bruised
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Spices:-
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 5 Shallots
  • 3 Candlenuts roasted
  • 1 tsp Tamarind
  • 1 tsp Chopped turmeric
  • Salt and sugar to taste


  1. Combine chicken with ground spices and shredded galangal and mix thoroughly.
  2. Heat oil in wok - or use a frying pan and fry the chicken.
  3. Add salam leaves and lemon grass.
  4. Cover the wok and fry over low heat, adding a little water if necessary.
  5. Cook the chicken until golden brown, then drain.
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: 4

Recipe Ayam Goreng Balado

  • medium to large chicken chopped into serving pieces
  • 3 tbsp tamarind water
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 8 red chillies seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 6 shallots or 2 onions thinly sliced
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying


  1. Marinade- mix together the tamarind water, turmeric, salt, coriander, and pepper in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces, and marinate for 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Chili sauce -, in the wok, or use a frying pan, fry the chilies and shallots or onions in the oil, stirring continuously, for about 5-6 minutes. Add the salt. Set aside.
  3. Drain the chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade.
  4. Deep-fry the chicken, a few pieces at a time, until the skin is golden brown and the bones are crisp.
  5. Put all the fried chicken in a large bowl and pour the chilie sauce over it. Using two large spoons, turn the chicken pieces over and over until they are evenly coated.
  6. This should be eaten with your fingers, either as a snack or as a main course with fried rice or fried noodles

Common Ingredients in Indonesian Food - Bahan-Bahan and Taburan

Before we start, let's have a look at the common foods used through Indonesia. If you're used to eating large portions of meat, then a couple of days in the week of Indonesian fare should do you the world of good. Meat is a side dish, not the main source of protein in Indonesia.

A meal usually consists of a main rice, nasi, dish with a combination of meat, fish, chicken, vegetable and egg dishes as accompaniment.

Tahu, tofu, soybean cake, and tempe, the fermented soybeans, both good sources of protein, are liberally used in Indonesian dishes.

Coriander and cumin, together with chillies, lemon grass, coconut, galangal, kecap manis, a sweet soy sauce, and palm sugar, along with the chilli sauce, sambal, make up most of the tastes of Indonesia.

Some ingredients may not be readily obtainable and I've given substitutes, as far as possible, which should be on your supermarket shelves or found at the greengrocers or an Asian supermarket..

Ingredient : Candlenuts

These are waxy nuts that look similar to a large hazelnut.

The nuts are ground before use and should never be eaten raw. They're rich in oil, so rich that on some of the Indonesian Islands, people string them together and use as candles.

Ground candlenuts are often used to thicken Indonesian curries.


Macadamia nuts - The closest substitute in taste and texture

Brazil nuts - Three times as large as candlenuts, so use fewer.

Raw cashews - Use two cashews for every candlenut

Blanched almonds - Use two almonds for every candlenut.

Ingredient : Tempeh

Tempeh is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.

Because the whole bean is kept, temphe has a high content of protein and vitamins. It also gives it a good firm texture and a lovely strong flavour.

It's especially popular on the island of Java, where it's a staple source of protein. People in the Jakarta prectinct have the highest known soy intake in the world and, accordingly, of the isoflavones in soy.

This provides a unique opportunity to consider the health effects of tempe. Apparent health benefits are bowel health, protection against cardiovascular disease, certain cancers such as breast and prostate, and menopausal health (including bone health).

Tempeh is an incredibly efficient food.

Ingredient : Galangal

Rhizomes are knobby underground stems that have pungent and full of flavour, such as the hot, ginger-peppery galangal.

Greater galangal is also called Laos ginger, Thai ginger and sometimes even Siamese ginger. It's the best known and most widely available.

This creamy white-fleshed rhizome can be found in Asian markets.

Ingredient : Tamarind

Tamarind is used as a souring agent that adds a pleasant fruity taste and, like lime juice, it also tenderises.

Tamarind pods are sometimes available fresh from Asian markets and other ethnic grocery stores, but they may not always be the sour varieties and won't give consistent results in cooking.


Tamarind Paste - For each teaspoon of tamarind paste use two tablespoons of lime or lemon juice.

Tamarind Water - Combine 4 parts dark brown sugar and 3 parts lime or lemon juice

Ingredient : Lime Leaves

The name 'Kaffir Lime' is offensive in many parts of the world. It's known as jeruk perut and in Malaysia it's called limau purut
The name 'Kaffir Lime' is offensive in many parts of the world. It's known as jeruk perut and in Malaysia it's called limau purut

Indonesian-Inspired Spicy Chicken Video

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: 6 8

Recipe : Serve with Bola-Bola Ubi Jalar - Cassava

  • 1 kilo cassava - sweet potato
  • 200 gram granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 cups water


  1. 1. Put sugar and vanilla in a pot with water and bring to a boil.
  2. 2. Steam cassava until soft, peel cassava. Mash cassava while still hot and put in a bowl so you can add the water to it. Pour the water mixture though. Mix well.
  3. 3. Roll into balls. Place on serving platter, sprinkle with grated coconut, refrigerate for an hour and serve chilled.

Indonesian Cookery Books

Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey: 150 New Recipes Evoking the Flavours of the Far East
Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey: 150 New Recipes Evoking the Flavours of the Far East

Rick Stein (I love Rick Stein) presents a dazzling array of inspired dishe from across. the far East. Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and, of course, Indonesia.


What do you think?

Do you like Indonesian food?

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      As soon as I saw the word "spicy" I had to check this out. I've never had Indonesian food, but it looks amazingly good.

    • Ronlove LM profile image

      Ronlove LM 

      6 years ago

      awesome lens

    • kislanyk profile image


      6 years ago from Cyprus

      This one sounds so yummie!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Susanna, I'm always hungry when I visit your pages. Another great job. Please feel free to share them when the mood strikes on my Facebook Culinary Favorites page.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      7 years ago

      The cassava dessert is one I will try. Thanks for sharing these exotic dishes.

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 

      7 years ago

      I love spicy food, so this lens is right up my street

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      9 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      Wonderful lens and a great addition to the Asian Foods group. I even had to add a new category for Indonesian food.

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 

      9 years ago

      I love all the recipes you share here, but I think I am most likely to try the Cassava Balls first. Thanks!

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 

      10 years ago

      Oh my goodness - my mouth is watering!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 

      10 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I have never eaten Indonesian food but, after reading this, I'd like to try it because it looks and souns delicious.


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