Tongseng Ayam - Javanese Sweet Soy Sauce Chicken Stew

5.0 from 11 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 40 mins

Serves: 4


  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 700 gram (24 oz) chicken meat, cut into bite-sizes (Note 1)
  • 2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
  • 2 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 3 cup (750 ml) chicken stock/water
  • 4 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • 1/2 head (about 500 gram / 17 ounce) cabbage, cut into wedges
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into cubes
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 100 gram shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger (Note 2)
  • 1 inch galangal (Note 2)
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander (Indonesian: bubuk ketumbar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (Indonesian: bubuk jinten)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (Indonesian: bubuk kari)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (Indonesian: bubuk pala)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white/black pepper, or to taste
  • Garnish and accompaniments
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves (optional)
  • sambal rebus
  • fried shallots (Indonesian: bawang goreng)
  • melinjo crackers (Indonesian: emping)


  1. Prepare and sauté spice paste: Use a food processor, blender, or a mortar and pestle to grind shallot, garlic, coriander, cumin, curry powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper into a smooth spice paste. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pot over medium heat and sauté spice paste until fragrant.
  2. Add chicken: Add bite-size chicken pieces into the pot, and stir until no longer pink.
  3. Prepare broth: Add bruised lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves), coconut milk, kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), and water/chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking until the chicken is tender.
  4. Add cabbage and tomatoes: Add cabbage and most of the tomatoes. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes, or until the cabbage starts to wilt.
  5. Garnish and serve: Turn off the heat, and garnish with reserved tomatoes and chopped celery leaves. Serve immediately with steamed white rice, sambal rebus, fried shallots, and melinjo crackers.


  • (1) You can use the same amount of mutton or beef instead of chicken.
  • (2) I usually don’t use ginger and galangal when I use chicken, but I highly recommend adding these if you are using mutton or beef instead of chicken.

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