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Ayam bakar taliwang (Indonesian grilled chicken)


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My YouTube feed has become saturated with videos of Indonesian people making popular Indonesian food.  Go figure.  One of the dishes that has popped up several times is this one - a grilled chicken dish that seems to be common on the island of Lombok, right next to Bali.  At this time, I've never been to Lombok, nor have I had this dish anywhere in Indonesia but it just looked so good I couldn't resist watching a bunch of the videos and then coming up with this recipe which is like an amalgamation of them.  Most of the time, it's for grilling a whole, spatch-cocked chicken, but it's just two of us so I adapted it to make 4 chicken thighs.  Ideally cooked on a wood burning grill, I have to make do in my apartment with a cast iron grill pan.


I imagine it would also be really good on chicken wings and also fish



1 t powdered dried turmeric

1t salt

about 2 ounces of water


Bumbu (spice paste):

2-3 fresh long hot red chillies (like Prik chee faa in Thailand)

2 fresh/frozen Thai chillies

2-3 fresh Cayenne or other long, red, skinny chilli.  I can't get that here, so I used a couple of dried ones, soaked until soft

4 small shallots

4 cloves garlic

1 inch fresh/frozen kencur - substitute the same amount of galangal if kencur is unavailable

2 candlenuts

2t Indonesian or Malaysian shrimp paste (terasi or belacan respectively), toasted then crumbled

1t salt


2oz oil for frying


8oz coconut milk

2t palm sugar

1/2-1t white sugar


1/2 lime


1. In a small blender or mortar grind the bumbu into a fine paste

2. In a wok or deep pan, heat the fry oil until shimmering then add the bumbu paste and fry, stirring constantly, until the oil starts to separates back out of the paste.

3. Add the coconut milk and stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add the palm sugar and white sugar and simmer and stir constantly until much thicker and you start to see oil separating out of the liquid.  Set aside.  This is now the sambal used for grilling and dipping later.

4. Preheat your grill to medium heat and mix the marinade ingredients in a small dish

5. Once the grill is hot, brush the marinade on both sides of the chicken and place on the grill, skin side down.

6. Flip after a few minutes and cook on both sides until about halfway cooked through.

7. Using a brush, brush the sambal on the chicken then flip, and brush more on the other side. Continue brushing/flipping until the chicken is cooked through.

8. Squeeze the lime juice into the remaining sambal (sauce) and serve on the side.

Edited by KennethT (log)
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