Ayam Goreng Kuning Recipe (Indonesian Yellow Fried Chicken)

Do you see the small bowl on the picture? That bowl has water and a slice of lime to rinse off your hand before and after eating. Yes! Traditionally, we use a right hand to eat, no cutlery.


Ayam Goreng Kuning is one of chicken classic Indonesian dishes. By giving the name kuning, surely this dish will include turmeric for colouring the food.  Turmeric and saffron are two ingredients that I know giving yellow colour into the food. Turmeric is more popular among countries that have influenced from India; one of them is Indonesia. I have a package of saffron that I haven’t used it at all. I may think to make a Spanish paella one time.

In my kitchen, I have fresh and powdered turmeric. I also have turmeric plants in my balcony to produce the leaves. Whenever the leaves are ready to harvest, I will keep them in the freezer. In Minang/Padang or also known as West Sumatra culinary, the leaves have a big role in its curry base cooking. It’s just like curry leaves in Indian and Acehnese food.

In a recipe that I’m going to post here, I will use the rhizome not leaves. About a year ago, Cynthia of Taste Like Home emailed and asked me a recipe of Indonesian Yellow Fried Chicken. She fell in love with this yellow fried chicken after Tuty of Scent of Spice served this dish while Cynthia visited the U.S and Tuty’s house.

Tuty and I have different style for the yellow fried chicken. I don’t use flour to batter the chicken, but all other methods are the same; we boil the chicken with spices and water until cooked and deep fry afterward.

Deep fry is not the only technique you can use here. I sometimes bake then broil it to give brown nice colour look of the surface at the end. Remember, you still need to boil it with spices until cooked first before you bake and broil it. By baking and broiling it, you will use less oil too.

Ayam Goreng Kuning
– Indonesian Yellow Fried Chicken –
Modified from Lisa of Indonesian Woman in Indian Kitchen

1 whole chicken, cut into 4 or 6 pieces
2 pieces of lemongrass, take only the white part, and crush it.
2 salam leaves (Indonesian bay leaves)
1 cup of water
oil for deep frying

Grind to:
8 cloves garlic
5 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri*)
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 inches (5 cm) fresh turmeric root (1/2 tsp turmeric powder), roasted and peeled
3 inches (7-8 cm) fresh/frozen galangal
2 inches (5 cm) fresh ginger
1 tsp white pepper

1. Grind all the ground spices into a paste.
2. Rub and marinate chicken pieces with the spice paste for about 1-2 hours.
3. In a pot, at medium heat, add marinated chicken pieces along with the paste, salt, lemon grass, salam leaves and water; bring to a boil.
4. Cover the pot with the lid, turn the heat to low and continue cooking until all the water has evaporated .
5. Remove from stove and let it cool.
6. At medium-high heat, add oil in to a wok. Deep fry the cooked chicken until golden yellow.
7. Remove from the wok and pat dry them with a kitchen towel or paper towel to absorb the oil excess.

Traditionally, it is served with fresh vegetables (we call lalapan), sambal terasi (chili relish/paste) and warmed cooked rice.

– If you can’t find any candlenuts, they can be substituted for macadamia nuts.
– If you don’t have any salam leaves, don’t substitutes for regular leaves, just leave them out.
– You may substitute galangal for powder one as well.


About the Author

An Indonesian born who lives in Winnipeg, Canada for more than a decade and decided to move a bit west. Edmonton is now where she is based on. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.