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Ayam Ungkep - Indonesian Fried Chicken

Ayam ungkep (Indonesian fried chicken) is a smart fried chicken dish. The bird is first braised in spiced stock so the meat is very flavorful and juicy, and only deep fried for a short time to crisp the skin. You can serve the delicious chicken stock with bubur ayam (chicken congee), so there is no waste.

When Indonesians mention ayam goreng (fried chicken), what we really mean is ayam ungkep, and you can use the term interchangeably. Ungkep translates to braising, and the name reflects the fact that what we fry is not raw chicken, but chicken that has been braised in a pot of broth filled with spices. Since the chicken is fully cooked once braised, the deep frying (goreng) is simply to give the chicken a crispy skin and doesn’t take long at all.

Ingredients for Ayam Ungkep - Indonesian Fried Chicken

Perfect fried chicken dish for busy people

Many Indonesians prepare ayam ungkep in really large batches during the ungkep (braising) process. My Mom used to braise multiple birds in the biggest stock pot she owns, then she will strain the cooked chicken, and portion them into separate freezer bags. Over the course of several weeks, she will regularly thaw one bag at a time, deep fry, and serve us some fried chicken. Don’t you think this is such a smart thing to do? Of course, if you want to follow her and prepare multiple batches, please be sure to scale up all the ingredients.

Ayam Ungkep - Indonesian Fried Chicken

Save the flavorful broth for your bubur ayam

Every time I cook ayam ungkep (Indonesian fried chicken), I will be left with a pot of very flavorful spiced broth. What I do is I strain this to get a clear broth, and save it to serve with my bubur ayam. I especially like this approach when I get a rotisserie chicken from the grocery, so I simply need to prepare some plain congee (bubur), ladle the flavorful chicken broth over the plain congee, and top with shredded rotisserie chicken. Or, if you are somehow sick of eating fried chicken (Is this even possible?), you can serve the braised chicken and the flavorful broth with a bowl plain congee too!

Ayam Ungkep - Indonesian Fried Chicken

Originally published on June 30, 2013. Updated on March 20, 2019 with new photos.

Ayam Ungkep - Indonesian Fried Chicken

5.0 from 1 reviews




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 8


  • 1 chicken (about 1 kg), cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 lemongrass, bruised
  • 5 kaffir lime leaf
  • 500 ml (2 cups) coconut water
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 100 gram shallot
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 inch galangal
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Place chicken, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, spice paste, and coconut water into a pot. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes until chicken pieces are well cooked. Drain the chicken pieces so they are dry to prepare for deep frying.
  2. [Make aheead]: If you want to store the chicken and serve them some other time, store them now. They keep well for several days in the fridge or can be frozen for up to 1 week. If frozen, please thaw the chicken first before deep frying.
  3. [Save the broth]: You can strain the braising broth and serve it with bubur ayam (chicken congee).
  4. Heat enough oil in a pot for deep frying. Add chicken pieces and fry until the skin is crispy and golden brown, about 3 minutes is enough since the chicken is already cooked.


  • Leonie says:

    Anita, do you mean coconut milk? Or fresh coconut juice? I'm not sure if I could substitute the coconut water from the box that I see in the stores in the US. I'm used to coconut milk in recipes though. Terima Kasih

    • Anita says:

      Hi Leonie, you can use the coconut water since that is what fresh coconut juice is called in Indonesian (i.e. air kelapa). Cheers!

  • Jenny ong says:

    Hi anita, Chance upon this site just recently. Cooked yr opor ayam numerous times. Always not enough for 2nd round. Thank you for yr great yummy recipes. In this recipe ayam ungkep what can we do with the drained liquid?

    • Anita says:

      Hi Jenny, I always do double batch whenever I make ayam ungkep. They disappear like magic trick in my house ;) Actually, if you love opor ayam, you can use the drained liquid to cook opor ayam too. Just measure the drained liquid + enough coconut milk to get about 3 cups of liquid, and cook with 1 ayam kampung (free-range chicken), or about 8 drumsticks.

  • Nancy says:

    Hi Anita, great recipes! I’ve been referring to your recipes to cook indonesian food for a year now, they always turn out great! Thank you! By the way, I always use the drained liquid in my version of bubur ayam. Just cook plain porridge, ladle the drained liquid, add shredded chicken, roast peanuts, kecap manis, kecap asin + bawang goreng. Perfect for breakfast! Yum!

    • Anita says:

      Oh wow, it never crosses my mind to use the drained liquid with bubur ayam! Thanks for teaching me a new trick Nancy. :)

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