Bistik Ayam Kecap / Indonesian Chicken Steak in Sweet Soy Sauce, Herbs, and Spices

In Indonesia, this dish is well known as bistik, which originally came from the word “beef steak”. Probably, it was too difficult for the people back then to pronounce beef steak, so they just cut it short into bistik. Nowadays, bistik does not only refer to beef steak, but also chicken steak. In Bahasa Indonesia, chicken means ayam. So, chicken steak in Bahasa Indonesia is bistik ayam (In English it will be chicken beef steak, hahaha………….). I know that it’s probably too confusing for you, but that is just the way we name the dishes.

This dish might not look exactly like chicken steak (or maybe more like chicken stew), but since I was little, I had only known this dish as chicken steak or bistik ayam. 

This Indonesian chicken steak is totally different than any chicken steak that you have ever known, and there are lots of variations of this dish. I believe that every family has its own recipe, so you might find different kind of recipes everywhere across Indonesia. One thing in common is that we use lots of locally grown herbs and spices in Indonesia, and Indonesian people are very generous when using herbs and spices in their cooking. Commonly, we also use sweet soy sauce to cook bistik ayam.

This dish is very easy to make. I sometime use the whole chicken cut into 8 or if I’m in a hurry, I just use chicken fillet because it cooks faster. When I have no idea of what to cook, make this dish by adding any vegetables that are available in my fridge. So simple but so delicious…………………..


  1. 300 chicken fillet, cut into 2 cm x 2 cm
  2. 1 lemongrass, take the outer part, then cut diagonally into 2 cm length
  3. 1 thumb of galangal (lengkuas), cut 5 into thin slices
  4. 1 thumb of ginger, cut into 5 thin slices
  5. 5 cloves (cengkeh)
  6. 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  7. 5 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  8. 2 tsp salt, or to taste
  9. 2 tbsp olive oil
  10. 1/2 large onion (bawang bombay), cut into strips
  11. 2 shallots, minced
  12. 2 garlic, minced
  13. 2 carrots, cut into bite size
  14. 1 potato, cut into bite size
  15. 200 ml water
  16. 2 tbsp minced cilantro


  1. In a medium bowl, marinate chicken with ingredients number 2 to 8 (lemongrass, galangal, ginger, cloves, nutmeg powder, sweet soy sauce, and salt) for at least 2 hours and put in the refrigerator
  2. Heat a wok with 2 tbsp of oil oil and add large onion, shallots, and garlic. Stir fry until fragrant
  3. Add the chicken and all other ingredients in the bowl to the wok, but set leave sauce in the bowl
  4. Stir fry until the chicken turn into white color
  5. Add carrots, potato, the remaining sauce in the bowl, and 200 ml of water
  6. Cook until chicken and vegetables are thoroughly cooked
  7. Turn off the heat, add cilantro and mix
  8. Transfer to a serving plate
  9. Serve hot with fresh salad and steam rice


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