Ayam Taliwang is a BBQ or Grilled Chicken that I enjoyed. Who doesn’t love the BBQ chicken unless you are a vegetarian or vegan? Compare to other Indonesian style BBQ chicken, this is the most simple one in term of ingredients.

Terasi and Indonesian Palm Sugar vs Thai Palm Sugar and

Terasi (fermented shrimp paste), gula aren (Indonesian palm sugar) and red chilies are the most important ingredients in Lombok cooking. They don’t use just any terasi or palm sugar but Lombok is very famous for its terasi and gula aren. Although I have no access of Lombok gula aren, I’m still able to get Indonesian gula aren with a different brand but has a similar darker colour and sweetness.

What are major differences between Indonesian Palm Sugar and Thai Palm Sugar? The colour and aroma! Indonesian Palm Sugar has a darker colour and distinct sweet aroma (or legit in Indonesian) and the Thai version has a lighter colour and the sweetness aroma isn’t noticeable. If it happens that you don’t have Indonesian palm sugar, Thai palm sugar will be fine but you’ll need to double up the size.

Please check also my old post on coconut sugar (gula merah or gula Jawa).

Ayam Taliwang & My Craving

The last time I was in Indonesia, I had Ayam Taliwang from The Origin Coffee & Dine. This chic cafe is located on the main floor of Cleo Hotel Jemursari Surabaya. It was yummy especially it was served with kangkung and green round eggplant sambal.

As I was craving it in Canada, I needed to recreate the recipe. Chickens in Canada are pretty huge! Mine was 1.6 kgs for a whole, so I halved the chicken for Ayam Taliwang. I recreated a different recipe for another half of chicken portion which you will see on my next post.

Ayam Taliwang Recipe


  • 1/2 chicken (about 800 grams or 1.7 lbs), pat dry with paper towel
  • 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup coconut oil or grapeseed oil
  • 3 calamansis (or 2 key limes), halved
  • Himalayan pink salt
Grind bumbu to a paste:
  • 12 large red chillies, de-seeded and slices
  • 5-10 Thai red chilies or bird chillies (optional, you can reduce and add the amount depend how spicy you’ll like)
  • 10  small shalllots, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp kencur powder
  • 25 grams (0.9 oz) gula aren (Indonesian palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon roasted terasi (fermented shrimp paste)

Cooking’s Note:
* If you grind the Bumbu with a food processor or blender, make sure you add a bit oil to have a smoother consistency.
* I prefer to add shallots at the end when I grind them with a food processor . A non-continuously method needs to be applied when you process with a food processor or blender to reduce a bitterness on shallot due to oxidation. So start, pulse and start for a couple times.

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Squeeze 2 calamansis over chicken. Set aside for 15 to 30 minutes in the fridge.
  2. Meanwhile chicken is sitting the fridge, pre-heat the oven at 392F or 200C if you are using an oven not a charcoal grill.
  3. Stir fry the Bumbu in a heated pan or wok with coconut oil or any cooking oil (don’t use more oil if you are using oil to blend your Bumbu) until fragrant.
  4. Turn the heat to medium and continue to simmer for another 10 – 20 minutes until the Bumbu paste thick & oily. (Protect your hand from hot splashing Bumbu as the Bumbu paste is bubbling). Add another 2 halved of calamansi juice over and well-mix. Taste and adjust the sweetness and saltiness as you wish. I don’t add additional salt as I rubbed the chicken with salt. Set aside and cool down.
  5. Pat dry the chicken paper towel. Rub some salts over.
  6. Wear gloves to coat chicken with Bumbu paste. Cover chicken with Bumbu. Place it in a roating pan. Cover with aluminium sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked (about 75 C or 165 F for internal temperature of the thick part of chicken).
  7. Once it’s cooked. Set your oven to a broil at 500 F (260 C) to char the outer part. Once, one side is done. Flip the charred part down and char the other side.
  8. Once both sides have sexy-char looking. Your chicken is ready to be enjoyed with Plecing Kangkung.
Other Indonesian BBQ Chicken Recipes:



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