Daily Cooking Quest

easy Indonesian recipes

Ayam Sambal Goreng Sereh - Chicken in Spicy Lemongrass Sauce

Eating rice for breakfast might be an alien concept for non Asian, but for Indonesian, not only are we eating rice for breakfast, we love to eat nasi uduk (fragrant coconut rice) with multiple side dishes, and one of them is always a meat, like this chicken, though I admit that it is more common for people to pair nasi uduk with fried chicken. But, you know, as human, I do crave variety every now and then, and I consider this a good option when I am sick of seeing another fried chicken ;)

Ayam Sambal Goreng Sereh - Chicken in Spicy Lemongrass Sauce

Ayam Sambal Goreng Sereh - Chicken in Spicy Lemongrass Sauce

Ayam Sambal Goreng Sereh - Chicken in Spicy Lemongrass Sauce

5.0 from 4 reviews



Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 8


  • 8 pieces of bone in chicken (I use drumsticks)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (Indonesian: bubuk kunyit)
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised and knotted
  • 1 cup coconut milk (Indonesian: santan)
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamarind (Indonesian: asam Jawa) + 4 tablespoon water, mix well and strained
  • 2 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 10-20 red cayenne chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah keriting)
  • 100 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 2 lemon grass (Indonesian: sereh), white part only
  • 2 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (Indonesian: bubuk kunyit)


  1. Marinate together chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken until the skin is crispy and golden brown, it is okay if the chicken is not 100% cooked. Set aside.
  3. In the same frying pan, fry spice paste, and lemon grass until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add coconut milk, tamarind solution, sugar, and salt to the frying pan. Bring to a boil.
  5. Return the chicken into the pan and cook until the sauce is reduced and the chicken are fully cooked.
  6. Turn off heat, and serve either with steamed white rice, or nasi uduk (fragrant coconut rice).


  • V Jameson says:

    This dish looks unbelievably delicious. Can you please post a few more Indonesian recipe specifically the ones listed here: http://makan-luar.tumblr.com/post/120760058771/tantalize-your-taste-buds-with-indonesian-cuisine . And also the desserts as well. Plus can you tell me where to get ingredient number 5? ("2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised and knotted")

    • Anita says:

      Hi Vanessa, I am going to keep the list in my to-do :) As for lemongrass, I am in the Bay Area, and they are sold fresh in Asian grocery stores like 99 Ranch or Marina. I think I have even spotted a Safeway or two that carry them.

      • Jane says:

        Hi Ci Anita, thank you for posting alot of Indonesian recipes, I have tried your sop buntut recipe and it was perfect! I had recently moved to Bay Area and am wondering where do you usually get your cabe merah keriting as I have never seen one so far. I have only seen Thai chilli at Ranch or Marina.

        • Anita says:

          For cabe merah keriting, I usually just sub with a mixture of Thai red chili and red fresno chili (50% 50%) and it usually works out perfectly.

  • Susan Parker says:

    I recently went to Bali and Gili Air. Everywhere we went we found Cop Chai soup - chicken with vegetables - on the menu. I ate it almost everyday, liking it better than Soto Ayam because of the vegetables. But now that I'm home, I can't find any recipes. Can you help me discover how to make this tasty soup, please? Thank you!

    • Anita says:

      Hi Susan, actually cap cai is a stir fry dish, though some people turn that into a stew/soup. I think this <a href="http://yummysupper.blogspot.com/2010/09/balinese-garden-stew.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Balinese Garden Stew</a> is what you are looking for. Cheers!

  • Susan Parker says:

    Spelled Cap Cai?

  • Melissa says:

    Hi Anita, I tried this on the weekend for friends and it went down a treat! My grandmother was Dutch Indonesian and no one managed to pick up her skills before she passed away. Since then, I have been trying to get my head around Indonesian cooking, and I am slowly building my success. I found your website when I searched for peanut sambal (which I also made), and am so excited to try so many new recipes! Thank you!

    • Anita says:

      Hi Melissa, I am very happy that my blog can help you rediscover Indonesian cooking. Have fun trying out different recipes :)

  • Joanna says:

    Sooo glad I came upon your site! I was looking for good sambal ulek and sambal terasi recipes and I shall try yours :-) Then of course I was tempted by the other recipes, like this lemon grass chicken one. Fab! What I like is that you include the Indonesian names for ingredients as well. Best wishes from a Philippine fan!

  • Liz says:

    I have been seeking this recipe for YEARS. My favorite restaurant in Rhode Island makes this, but I've never been able to find anything remotely close to what they make. THANK YOU!!!

    • Anita says:

      I am happy to help then :) I hope it is close to what you had in Rhode Island.

  • AD says:

    Hi Anita - I made this and it was simply gorgeous! I am in love with your recipes!

    • Anita says:

      Why, thank you :)

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