Ayam Bakar Kecap / Grilled Chicken with Sweet Soy Sauce, Spices, and Herbs


Besides yellow (turmeric) fried chicken that I’ve shared the recipe in my previous post, this black grill chicken is also a very popular and common dish in Indonesia. Although each province has its own recipe, but basically the herbs and spices being used in the recipe are mostly the same with few differences. One thing for sure, I do believe that for each grill chicken dish, there must be a homemade chili paste or chili sauce to accompany eating the sweet or savory chicken. And also, don’t forget fresh vegetables that we called as “lalapan” to be dipped inside the chili paste and to be eaten with hot steam rice.

The recipe for the chili paste or sauce is usually different in each area, but if you’re a chili lover, then you will appreciate and enjoy the uniqueness of each recipe. Being a very popular dish, no wonder if you can find grill chicken easily either in small or big restaurants, hotel, and even the street vendors which undoubtedly have the best recipes of them all.

Sweet soy sauce is very common in Indonesia, so that is why many of Indonesian dishes are using sweet soy sauce as one of the ingredient.



  1. 1 chicken, clean and cut 8. I also removed the skin for health reason
  2. 1 large red onion or 10 red onions
  3. 10 garlic
  4. 6 candle-nuts, wash and stir fry in non stick pan without oil until fragrant and the color turn into golden brown and the skin is a bit burn
  5. 1 tsp coriander powder
  6. 1 tbsp salt
  7. 2 thumbs of ginger,  cut in thin slices
  8. 2 thumbs of galangal (lengkuas), cut in thin slices
  9. 12 lime leaves
  10. 5 salam leaves
  11. 2 lemongrass, peel and cut 2 and crush with the back of a big knife
  12. 4 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  13. 1 tbsp liquid palm sugar
  14. 1 thumb of tamarind (asam jawa), put in a small bowl and add 3 tbsp of water. Squeeze the tamarind using your index finger and thumb until the water turn into black. Discard the tamarind and use the water only
  15. 200 ml water


  1. In a food processor, process together red onions, garlic, coriander powder, candle nuts, salt, and tamarind water / juice until they form a paste
  2. Prepare a big wok, and stir fry the paste together with ginger, galangal, and lemongrass in medium heat until fragrantimg_5576
  3. Add lime leaves, salam leaves, sweet soy sauce, liquid palm sugar, and 200 ml of water. Mix well with the pasteimg_5580
  4. Turn to low heat
  5. Add the chicken, and stir until the chicken in completely covered in the black sauceimg_5584
  6. Cook until the chicken is throughly cooked (for about 2 hours if using kampong chicken) while stirring occasionally. Add water little by little if necessary to avoid from burning. Leave about 100 ml of the sauce in the wok at the end of your cookingimg_5588
  7. Turn off the heat, and separate the chicken from the sauce
  8. Transfer the black sauce to a bowl and add 1 tbsp of sweet soy sauce (optional, but I liked the chicken to be sweet so I added 2 tbsp of sweet soy sauce)img_5592
  9. Heat a grill or double pan or happy call pan, place the chicken on top of the pan and grill in medium heat until the outer parts are a bit burnt (the burnt level is depending on your liking). Spread the sauce lightly on both sides of the chicken 2 or 3 times during the grilling processimg_5597
  10. Transfer the grilled chicken to a serving plate and again, spread some sauce on top of the chicken
  11. Serve with hot steam rice, fried shallot, chili paste, and fresh vegetablesimg_5620

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