Ayam Goreng Bumbu is not just an ordinary fried chicken. It’s a traditional fried-chicken from Indonesia that when it’s properly cooked, the chicken will taste flavoursome right to the bone.
Unlike the western fried-chicken, Ayam Goreng Bumbu needs to be pre-cooked in spices before you actually fry it. Therefore, you will not have to worry about reaching a particular oil temperature to cook your poultry. And you don’t have to worry about the uncooked chicken because you actually fry the already cooked meat.
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Almost all of Indonesia’s region have their own way of making their spiced fried chicken. But the one I’m sharing with you here is the recipe from West Java where the Sundanese are from.
The reason is that my mom is Sundanese. So I grew up having Sundanese style fried-chicken. If you go to the West Java region, you’ll find Ayam Goreng literally in every eatery.
And just like any dish, there are so many versions of Ayam Goreng recipes. Here, I’m being biased by putting my mom’s recipe and claiming it’s the best 😄.
But in seriousness, everybody who ever tried my mom’s fried chicken always loved it. And recently, one of my cousins who does a catering business told my mom that she now uses this fried chicken recipe for her business. And that she gets good feedback from her happy customers.
The spices that you need to make Ayam Goreng Bumbu
You need to pound the garlic into a smooth paste. If you run out of fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder. If you use garlic powder, you can put about 2 teaspoons for this recipe.
Here in the UK, we can get frozen garlic paste. It’s basically fresh garlic that has been pounded into a paste and frozen into cubes. I use this frozen garlic sometimes. If you do, you can put one cube for this recipe.
In Indonesia, my mom doesn’t use ground coriander. So she has to grind the coriander together with other spices. But here in the UK, I use the ground one.
If you only have coriander seeds, use about 3 teaspoons of seeds and grind them until smooth.
Mostly, people in Indonesia use fresh turmeric root for cooking. Although it can be a pain to handle fresh turmeric due to its colour that can stay on the skin, it is actually better for cooking. Somehow the food smells nicer.
So if you have a chance to use fresh turmeric, you can use about 1-inch of it for this recipe. Peel and grind the turmeric with other spices.
And if you can’t get the fresh one, you can use dry turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon of it is more than enough for this recipe. Don’t worry, your chicken will still taste yummy.
Kemiri or candlenuts in English is Aleurites Moluccanus which is a type of nut that used for cooking and not to be eaten raw. Often people use Macadamia nuts as a substitute as they both similarly have a high content of oil and the same texture when ground.
Galangal is a type of root ginger that is found in South-East Asia that has distinct fragrant. You have to put the right amount of this root in your food or its smell will be overpowering. You can use fresh Galangal or ready-paste one. If you use the paste, one teaspoon of Galangal is enough for this recipe.
This leaf is often called Indian bay leaf or Indonesian bay leaf. However, Salam leaf is totally different from the bay leaf as it is from an unrelated family of plants.
Salam leaf is a Syzygium polyanthum plant, while the bay leaf is Lurus Nobilis.F
And the smell of both types of the leaf is distinguishably different too. So I suggest you skip Salam leaf if you can’t get hold of it. Don’t try to substitute with bay leaf because it won’t suit the rest of the spices and herbs. I did try and regretted it.
This one is quite well-known now in the west. So I may not need to go on and on about it. Just a little info that lemongrass is almost always used together with Salam leaf in many Indonesian dishes.
Salt and sugar
Needless to say that salt is the most principal ingredient for tasty savoury food. But when you cook meat – whether it’s a red meat or white meat – adding a little bit of sugar can enhance the flavour. Therefore in this recipe, we put a teaspoon or two of granulated sugar.
Cooking oil for deep frying
In general, vegetable oil is probably the most used for deep-frying. But I personally prefer sunflower oil as I find that vegetable oil has a strong smell compared to sunflower oil.
But I leave the choice to your personal preference 😉.
How to make Indonesian fried-chicken
Allow me to suggest you pierce your chicken pieces before cooking. If you’ve read my other meat recipes, I always recommend this.
The reason is that you want to make sure your meat is flavourful inside out. Not just the outside part. You can try this, and see if there’s any difference.
Anyway, after you get your chicken pieces ready and have pierced them, you can get on making your spice paste. If you have a food processor, you can put all the spices and herbs (except Salam leaf), salt and sugar in the food processor. Give it a blitz until everything becomes smooth like a paste. Or, you can use a pestle and mortar to grind all the spices.
Then you put the chicken pieces in a cooking pot, and add in the spices mixture and salam leaf (if using). Give it a stir or two until all chicken pieces are coated with the spice.
Put the lid on and cook the poultry at low heat until the meat is cooked through. If your chicken releases a lot of water/ juice, you may want to slightly open the lid to help the moisture evaporate. Or turn the heat a bit higher. But do take care so that the meat won’t get burned.
Once your chicken is thoroughly cooked with a nice thick spice left around it, you can get your frying pan ready and start heating the oil.
Deep fry the chicken until lightly golden or light brown. I personally prefer it light golden because it means the meat is not dry.
Side dishes Ayam Goreng Bumbu
Traditionally, Indonesians enjoy this spiced fried-chicken with rice and a few other side dishes like vegetable stir-fry or soups.
For special occasions such as Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr, many Indonesians will have this Ayam Goreng Bumbu as a companion for Lontong Sayur, the vegetable curry in coconut milk with hard-boiled rice cakes called lontong.
But really, you can enjoy your fried-chicken with whatever you like. I often eat it just with salad or with gado-gado (Indonesian salad with peanut sauce).
Make in bulk and keep for another day
There’s nothing that I love more than cooking something that I can store and keep for when I don’t have time to cooking.
Now, this fried chicken is one of those.
You can freeze and store the fully fried chicken, and just reheat them in the oven when you need them. Or, my favourite way is I will thoroughly cook the chicken with spice, and then I let them cool down before I store them in my freezer. And when I need them, I can leave them to thaw in the fridge/refrigerator the night before I fry them.
Thank you for reading the post. I hope you’re now inspired to try the recipe. If you do, can you share with us how you like this Ayam Goreng Bumbu by leaving your views in the comments below? I would also love you to share the post and pin it.
Before you go, don’t forget to check my other recipes that you may like.
- The real Indonesian beef rendang – Simply authentic.
- The best Indonesian sweet soy chicken – Ayam Kecap.
- Lontong Sayur Betawi – If you can not get hold of Kemiri (Candlenuts), you can use Macadamia nuts. And if you can’t get either of them, you can skip altogether.
- Salam leaf has a unique fragrant that I don’t recommend to substitute it with any other herb. If you can’t get Salam leaf, you may just want to leave it and cook your chicken without it.
- hard-boiled rice with vegetable curry.
- Gado-gado Jakarta.
Thank you and all the best.