Ayam Goreng – Fried Chicken

Ayam goreng is the name applied to various Indonesian and Malaysian dishes of chicken deep-fried in coconut oil. Ayam goreng literally means “fried chicken” in Indonesian and Malay. This South-east Asian version of fried chicken has no batter coating, and is richer in spices.

Marination & Spices

Nasi bungkus Padang with Padang style ayam goreng.The spice mixtures vary across regions, but primarily consist of a combination of; ground shallot, garlic, Indian bay leaves, turmeric, lemongrass, tamarind juice, candlenut, galangal, salt and sugar.

The chicken pieces should be marinated in the spice mixture for several hours / overnight before frying, so that the chicken absorbs the spices. The chicken is then deep-fried in coconut oil. Ayam goreng is usually served with;

  • steamed rice, sambal terasi (chili with shrimp paste)
  • or sambal kecap (sliced chili and shallot in sweet soy sauce) as a dipping sauce or condiment and slices of cucumber and tomato for garnish.

Fried tempeh and tofu might be added as side dishes.


The Ingredients

  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces — 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • Garlic, minced — 3 or 4 cloves
  • Coriander — 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric — 2 teaspoons
  • Bay leaves — 2
  • Salt and pepper — to season
  • Water or coconut water (see Notes) — 2 cups
  • Oil for deep frying

The Cooking Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the garlic, coriander, turmeric, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  2. Refrigerate and marinate for at least one hour.
  3. Add the chicken, marinade and water or coconut water to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high flame.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced and the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool
  6. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep fryer, skillet or wok.
  7. Add the chicken pieces and fry until golden brown and crispy on the outside, turning occasionally to cook brown on all sides.
  8. Drain the chicken on paper towels.
  9. Skim any crumbs or crispy bits from the oil and sprinkle them over the chicken as a garnish.

Serve hot or at room temperature with steamed rice and a simple salad.

There are many variations to the basic recipe and Ayam goreng kuning, tinted a rich yellow (kuning) with turmeric, is one of the more popular.