Ayam Bakar

After our trip to Bali I was inspired to cook Balinese and/or Indonesian dishes as most of what we tried there was down to earth rustic delicious dishes that you can prepare on a daily basis at home. One of those dishes is this Ayam Bakar, basically an Indonesian or Malaysian dish of charcoal-grilled chicken marinated in kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), coconut oil, shallot, garlic, chilli pepper, coriander, tamarind juice, candlenut, turmeric and galangal.

Ayam Bakar differs from place to place, the Balinese tends to be sweeter while the Lombok and Sumatran style tends to be spicier. Preparation is quite different to most grilled chicken dishes as this one is partially cooked with the spice mixture prior to grilling for maximum absorption. Usually served with sambal terasi or sambal kecap as condiment with slices of tomato and cucumber plus some rice.

Today we will be making the Balinese version, almost similar to the Filipino’s Aristocrat Style grilled chicken but less sweet and a bit spicier.

Ayam Bakar
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 4 pcs whole chicken thighs with legs
  • vegetable oil
Braising Liquid
  • 2 cups water
  • ⅓ cup tbsp kecap manis
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, white part and pounded
  • 1 inch galangal, pounded
  • 4 pcs kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Spice Paste
  • 7 pcs shallots
  • 1 birds eye chilli
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ inch ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  1. In a food processor place all spice paste ingredients together, process until it becomes a paste and smooth in consistency. Set aside.
  2. In a large wok add oil then sauté the spice paste for 5 minutes or until fragrant on medium low heat, add all the braising liquid ingredients, bring heat to high until the mixture boils, turn heat back to medium low then add the chicken in one layer making sure it is coated with the sauce. Cover the wok then cook for 20 minutes then turn the heat off, turn it over then leave the chicken for an hour to soak in this sauce.
  3. Remove the chicken from the sauce, set it aside.
  4. Continue to simmer the sauce in medium heat until it is reduced. Set is aside.
  5. Using a charcoal grill slowly grill your chicken for 15 to 20 more minutes while continuously basting with the sauce and turning it over frequently to avoid burning. Remove from grill then serve with rice.



2 Responses

  1. kitchenriffs says:

    Great picture! And wonderful looking recipe — really nice. Thanks!

  2. mjskit says:

    Your braising liquid, your sauce, it all sounds delicious! Your photo makes me hungry!

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