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Ayam Bakar Solo - Solo Grilled Chicken

Here is another ayam bakar (grilled chicken) recipe, this time from the city of Solo. Solo and Yogyakarta are the two cities right at the center of Javanese culture, and you can bet that this grilled chicken is going to be on the sweet side :)

It may be really weird for those who don’t live or grow up in Java to appreciate the sweetness that is supposed to be savory dishes, but I love them to death!

If you are not a fan of sweet dishes, just reduce the amount of kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) used in the recipe (and maybe even skip the palm sugar while you are at it), but perhaps follow the recipe as is and give it a try first before making adjustment for the future.

Ayam Bakar Solo - Solo Grilled Chicken
Ayam Bakar Solo - Solo Grilled Chicken

Ayam Bakar Solo - Solo Grilled Chicken

5.0 from 3 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins

Serves: 8

Print Recipe


  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 4 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa), or use brown sugar
  • 1 chicken, cut to 8 pieces (or use all drumsticks)
  • 4 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • 800 ml coconut water (or water is okay)
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 75 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 6 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 2 inch ginger (Indonesian: jahe)
  • 2 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
  • 2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), white part only
  • 6 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder


  1. Heat oil in a wok/frying pan on a medium high heat and sauté spice paste and bay leaves until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and stir until the sauces coats the chicken pieces and the color of the chicken starts to change.
  3. Add sweet soy sauce and coconut water. Mix well, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover the wok/frying pan partially. Cook until the sauce has reduced, thickened, and coats the chicken. About 45 minutes.
  5. Prepare a grill/broiler. Grill/broil the chicken until slightly charred. Serve hot with sambal (chili sauce) of your choice.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Jasline @ Foodie Baker Jasline @ Foodie Baker says:

    The grilled chicken looks so tempting and delicious! I'll definitely need to eat a lot of them at one go!

    • Anita Anita says:

      I know right? I have to portion them so they last a bit longer around the house :)

  • Kat B Kat B says:

    Selamat siang Ibu :) This is a little note to thank you for your awesome blog. I'm from the US, but I spend about a month in Indonesia each year. I wish I could bring all of my loved ones along to enjoy the warm & wonderful people and places, but since that poses a bit of a scheduling/budgetary challenge I am really happy that Daily Cooking Quest made it possible for me to share some of the flavors with friends and family at home. This past weekend I prepared 5 of your recipes including this one (plus a mountain of kerupuk!) for 40 people, and they all came out great. All week I've been cooking more of your recipes to use up the leftover lemongrass, shallots, etc. and I just keep adding to my list of favorites! Thanks for this great resource and please keep the updates coming. I'm a fan! Terima kasih!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Selamat siang juga Kat :) Your lovely comment really makes me happy to keep on blogging. And wow, you prepared 5 recipes in a weekend, that must have been a super busy time in the kitchen. It does feel wonderful to prepare food for family and friends, especially if they appreciate it, haha ;)

  • Lany Susanto Lany Susanto says:

  • Dessy Pratama Dessy Pratama says:

    Thank you for the delicious recipe!! i have tried so many times, never failed to satisfy my family!! question regarding the thicken sauce, can we re-use it for the next one? Thanks

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Dessy, I usually just serve the extra sauce with the chicken. I guess it doesn't hurt if you want to use it for preparing the next batch, but I'm not sure if it alone will be enough, but it should work fine if you treat it as extra.

  • Mira Mira says:

    Hello, Thank you for all these wonderful recipes! My husband grew up in Indonesia, so I'm always looking for his favorites:) Your site has so many! Wanted to ask if I could use chicken breast here instead of drumsticks, how would I adjust cooking? Thank you so much!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Mira, I would use 6-8 chicken breasts, depending on size. :)

  • Hannah Hannah says:

    Hi, does the chicken need to be grilled right after the spice paste cooking part? Just wondering if I can prepare ahead of time, leave in the fridge once everything's reduced. Thanks!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Hannah, you can prepare ahead of time and leave the chicken in the fridge. Just grill slightly longer so the chicken is heated through.

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