Recipe Grilled Chicken

With its rich culinary heritage, Indonesia offers a tantalising array of dishes that delight the palate. Among these, "Ayam Bakar," or grilled chicken, is a quintessential favourite. Bursting with a harmonious blend of spices and grilled to perfection, Ayam Bakar is a dish cherished for its aromatic flavours and succulent meat. Let's delve into the recipe, exploring the required ingredients, preparation, and serving suggestions, tips, variations, and nutritional insights.


  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces or chicken drumsticks/thighs
  • 5 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 red chillies, chopped (adjust according to spice preference)
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon of palm sugar (gula jawa/gula merah)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • Lime wedges for garnish
  • Banana leaves for grilling (optional)


  1. Mix shallots, garlic, red chillies, sweet soy sauce, tamarind paste, palm sugar, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and salt to create the marinade.
  2. Score the chicken pieces with a sharp knife to allow the marinade to penetrate.
  3. Rub the chicken pieces with the marinade, ensuring they are evenly coated. Let them marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.
  4. If using banana leaves, wrap each marinated chicken piece in banana leaves, securing them with toothpicks.
  5. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. You can also use a grill pan or oven if you don't have a grill.
  6. Grill the chicken pieces for 15-20 minutes on each side or until they are cooked through and have crispy, charred edges.
  7. Serve hot with lime wedges and your choice of sides, such as steamed rice, sambal, or fresh vegetables.


  • For an extra smoky flavour, grill the chicken over charcoal.
  • Baste the chicken with the remaining marinade while grilling to keep it moist and flavorful.
  • If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling to prevent them from burning.
  • Adjust the amount of chilli according to your spice preference.


  • Ayam Bakar Padang: Incorporate coconut milk into the marinade for a rich and creamy flavour.
  • Ayam Bakar Kecap: Replace sweet soy sauce with regular soy sauce for a less sweet but equally delicious version.
  • Ayam Bakar Rica-Rica: For a fragrant and spicy twist, add lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves to the marinade.

Nutritional Insights:

The calorie content of Ayam Bakar can vary depending on factors such as portion size, marinade ingredients, and cooking methods. However, a typical serving of grilled chicken (approximately 100g) provides about 165 calories, with variations based on the inclusion of skin and fat content.


Indonesia's Ayam Bakar encapsulates the essence of Southeast Asian cuisine, offering a symphony of flavours that captivate the senses. With its tantalising marinade and charred perfection, Ayam Bakar is a dish that embodies the spirit of communal dining and culinary exploration. Whether enjoyed at a street-side stall or prepared at home, Ayam Bakar promises a culinary journey that celebrates Indonesia's vibrant gastronomic heritage.


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