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easy Indonesian recipes

Ayam Ungkep

Ayam ungkep is Javanese friend chicken where chicken pieces are first cooked in spices prior to deep frying. A popular party dish since chicken pieces that have gone through the first cooking process can be kept in the fridge for several days and even longer if frozen. Prior to serving, deep fry chicken pieces to crisp up the skin and give a nice golden brown color to the chicken.

Ayam Ungkep

Ayam Ungkep

Ayam Ungkep

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 lemon grass, bruised
  • 5 kaffir lime leaf
  • 500 ml coconut water
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 10 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, lemon grass, 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 is well cooked. Drain the chicken pieces so they are dry to prepare for deep frying. Note that if you want to store the chicken and serve them some other time, store them now. They keep well for several days in fridge or can be frozen for up to 1 week.
  2. 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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