Indonesian Fried Chicken

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Watch Video

Unlike the western style of breading fried chicken, the Indonesian version is marinated by simmering the chicken in spices, then fried until golden brown. Serve hot with white rice, cucumber salad, and sambal!



1 whole chicken (2 to 3lbs) or tempeh
2 limes
1 ½ tbsp coriander seeds
3 candlenuts (or macadamia nuts)
1 (2-inch) piece fresh turmeric
1 (2-inch) piece fresh galangal
1 lemongrass stalk
3 garlic cloves
3 shallots
2 bay leaves
1 14-oz can coconut milk
2 tbsp rice flour (or wheat flour)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
A few basil leaves
A few celery leaves
2 small cucumbers
Canola oil to fry
sambal terasi to serve


1. Cut the whole chicken into 8 pieces, using only dark meat. White meat and scraps may be saved for other recipes. If using tempeh instead of chicken, also cut into 8 pieces.

2. Place the chicken in a bowl. Add juice of 1.5 limes to marinate and tenderize the meat.

3. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the spices into a paste in the following order: coriander, garlic, candlenuts, turmeric, shallots. Use sea salt throughout to season and help the grinding process. Alternatively, use a food processor or blender for a rough paste, not too fine. Add coconut milk for texture if needed.

4. Use a pestle, mallet, or knife handle to bruise the lemongrass and galangal, releasing the flavors.

5. Saute spice paste, galangal, lemongrass, and bay leaves in canola oil until fragrant. Add chicken (or tempeh) and coconut milk, mixing well.

6. If using chicken, remove chicken when sauce has reduced, and discard lemongrass and galangal. Cool remaining sauce in a small bowl. If using tempeh, set aside before it breaks apart, and continue to reduce the sauce. Once reduced, discard lemongrass and galangal, and set sauce aside to cool.

7. Mix the remaining sauce paste with flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and egg.

8. Use a peeler to slice the cucumbers in thin strips. Mix with chopped basil, celery leaves, juice of ½ lime, and salt.

9. Pour a generous amount of canola oil in a pan. Fry the chicken or tempeh until golden brown, and remove from oil. Slowly pour the flour mix into the hot oil, where it will expand and float. Fry the spiced crisps until golden brown, and remove from oil.

10. Serve chicken with the spiced crisps, cucumber salad, white jasmine rice, and sambal terasi (fermented shrimp chili sauce). Enjoy!

Recipe by Daisy Orlana

“Ayam goreng kremes is a popular way of cooking chicken in Java, and one of my favorite comfort foods. I especially love to include spiced crisps crumbled on top—Indonesians are deeply obsessed with crunchy textures! Chicken can be substituted with tempeh or tofu. This recipe uses only the dark meat, so you can reserve the leftover bones and carcass to make stock, or poach the white meat to add to Bubur Ayam–a breakfast chicken rice porridge. Not only that, you can reuse your frying oil up to three times as long as it is strained and stored properly!”

DAISY ORLANA is the chef and founder of Sayang, an Indonesian pop-up she founded as a way to ease her homesickness and connect more deeply with her native food culture. It has since become a vibrant community of Indonesian diaspora in New York.

April 12, 2020. Video by Daisy Orlana.

More Recipes

Oral Traditions

About this project

Recipe Title Here

Recipe English Here