Indonesian Grilled Chicken (Ayam Bakar Kecap)

Indonesian grilled chicken (ayam bakar kecap) is very popular and is featured in many Indonesian restaurants around Sydney, which are largely concentrated around Kingsford and Maroubra. Indonesian grilled chicken is succulent, sweet and salty with a hint of spices. It is best enjoyed with steamed rice, lots of sambal terasi/belacan (mixed with extra kecap manis) and a generous serving of a vegetable side dish.



Indonesian grilled chicken (ayam bakar kecap)
Adapted from recipe in ‘Aneka Masakan dari Ayam’ by W.Y. Pradata (2004)

Serves 4-6

  • 1-2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 kg/2.2 lb chicken drumsticks or 1 small chicken cut into 8 portions
  • 2 bay leaves (daun salam)
  • 500mL/16 fl oz mature coconut water, if unavailable, replace with young coconut water.
  • ¼ cup (±4 generous tablespoons) kecap manis
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

Seasoning paste (bumbu):

  • 16 garlic cloves
  • 16 red shallots (1 Spanish onion)
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp turmeric


  1. Heat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Grind the seasoning paste ingredients into a fine paste using a mortar & pestle or food processor.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, deep pan/wok. Add the seasoning paste and all of the other ingredients.
  4. Bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the most of the liquid has evaporated. Check regularly. It will take about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Place the drumsticks on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with steamed rice and a vegetable side dish.

9 thoughts on “Indonesian Grilled Chicken (Ayam Bakar Kecap)

  1. This looks delicious! If we can’t find kecap manis, is there a substitute you could suggest? (I know it won’t be authentic but the rest of the ingredients are so tasty, it might be good either way!)

  2. Yum! It has been too many years since I have tasted the flavors from that part of the world! Not many Indonesian restaurants in my neck of the woods (California). I need to find me some kecap manis and try this.

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