How to Make our Flavourful Indonesian-Style Roast Chicken

It’s a rare person that doesn’t love a roast chicken. It makes for a simple lunch or dinner solution and one that can be made easily here in Indonesia. What’s more, the smell of a chicken roasting evokes a sense of nostalgia for me, reminiscent of life back in Australia when Sunday lunch generally consisted of a roast.

But as with most things, it’s nice to mix things up a bit, so of late our roast chicken has included hints of kaffir lime, chilli and ginger. Instead of roasted vegetables, a serve of steamed rice, some zingy mango sambal and slices of refreshing cucumber have accompanied our Indonesian-Style Roast Chicken.

Below you will find our recipes. The chicken is great hot or cold and the marinade is fabulous for little chicken pieces too – perfect as a finger-food at your next barbecue. So give it a try and as always, let us know what you think!


Indonesian-Style Roast Chicken (Whole or Pieces)

Cooking Time: 60 mins – 90 mins
Serves: 3 to 4

1 x size 14 Chicken or 1 kilo of chicken pieces


1kg chicken pieces

Giblet-free chicken purchased at our local supermarket

1/2 Cup ABC Kecap Manis
1/3 Cup Coconut Milk
4 Kaffir Lime Leaves, thinly sliced
1 Cinnamon Quill, whole
1 Red Chilli, finely chopped (seeds removed if you like a little less spice)
1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, grated
1/2 tsp Salt
20g Palm Sugar (grated)
1/2  tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
1/4 tsp Chilli Powder
Juice of 1 Jeruk Nipis (local lime)

(To Serve: Steamed rice, Lime wedges, Mango sambal (see recipe below) and Cucumber slices)

Ingredients for the marinade (clockwise from top left): palm sugar, kaffir lime leaves, ginger root and cinnamon quill, (on dish) black pepper, salt and chilli flakes, coconut milk, kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) and whole chilli


For Whole chicken:

1. Lay chicken breast side down on a chopping board and using kitchen shears cut along both sides of the backbone

2. Lay chicken flat and cut through the breastbone to form two halves. Trim excess fat

Halved chicken with backbone removed

3. Turn chicken over and make a cut in the thickest part of each leg and breast

For whole chicken and chicken pieces:

4. Place chicken into a shallow dish or for chicken pieces, place in clean zip-lock bag


5. Combine marinade ingredients together and mix well with cinnamon quill, leaving quill in marinade

Use the cinnamon quill to combine the marinade ingredients

6. Pour marinade over whole chicken and using your hands, coat well. For chicken pieces, pour marinade into plastic bag and close. Massage bag to thoroughly coat chicken pieces.

Chicken halves covered in marinade, cover with glad wrap and pop in the fridge
Chicken pieces marinating in zip-lock bag. Place on a dish and refrigerate until ready to cook


7.  Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours up 24 hours. Turn chicken occasionally.

8. Remove cinnamon quill and cook chicken in a moderate oven (180oC), roasting for approximately 1/1.5 hours or until inserted skewer releases a stream of clear liquid. Be sure to baste occasionally during cooking time to maximise flavour.
Chicken pieces
will take less time – but check that they are thoroughly cooked before serving.


9. Rest chicken/chicken pieces for 10 minutes before serving with any/all of the following – steamed rice, mango sambal, cucumber slices and *krupuk.


Selamat Makan!

Cooks’ Notes:
Make the marinade a day earlier allowing flavours to infuse before using. This is especially useful if you are roasting chicken pieces as appetiser for a gathering

Grate some turmeric into your marinade to add an extra earthy Indonesian flavour



Zingy Mango Sambal

Fresh ingredients for mango sambal including (clockwise): mint leaves, green mango, shrimp paste, lime, salt, vegetable oil, palm sugar, chillies and lime (jeruk nipis)


3 Red Chillies
1 tsp Toasted Shrimp Paste (Terasi)
2 Tb Oil (for frying)
2 tsp Palm Sugar
1 tsp Salt
100 gram slightly underripe Mango flesh, cut into matchsticks
Juice of 1 Jeruk Nipis lime (local lime)
Handful of Mint leaves shredded


  1. Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, grind the chillies together with the shrimp paste, creating a coarse paste

    The Indonesian mortar and pestle known as the ‘cobek ulek-ulek’, is made from volcanic stone
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and sauté chilli paste until fragrant
  3. Season with palm sugar and salt, adjusting the taste as required
  4. Remove from heat and transfer the chilli mix to a mixing bowl, adding the mango
  5. Gently toss until well mixed
  6. Add lime juice and mix in some shredded mint leaves
  7. Serve immediately as a side dish to chicken, fish or seafood


*Krupuk : Also known as kerupuk, Krupuk are deep-fried Indonesian crackers made from starch and other ingredients that add flavour (e.g.: fish and prawns). They are eaten like crisps (chips).


Words: Jo      Photography: a journey bespoke


    • ajourneybespoke says

      Hi there Helen, make sure you do make the roast chicken and let us know how you go with it. I’m sure it will be very tasty. Bye for now 🙂

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