Ayam Kecap Pedas: Spicy Soy Sauce Chicken

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Deyana Goh
Deyana Goh
Deyana was born in Singapore and lives there. She is half-Chinese, half-Arab, with a grandmother who was born to an Arab family in Bogor, Indonesia. Deyana grew up eating Indonesian food as it is cooked in Arab-Indonesian households, and has fond memories of the festive whole chicken stuffed with lamb.

Ayam kecap pedas, or spicy soy sauce chicken, is a delicious dish of chicken cooked with chillies and Indonesian sweet soy sauce, or kecap manis. It’s spicy and slightly sweet. Healthy herbs like lemongrass, galangal and ginger add to the fragrance and the layers of taste. 

This dish requires many ingredients, but most of them are optional, like the herbs. For a quick and simple meal, you can leave out all other ingredients except for the chillies, shallots, garlic, soy sauce – and of course, the chicken! 

Often, Indonesians cook bone-in chicken, such as the whole drumstick or chicken breast. But for this recipe, I’ve used fresh chicken cubes; you can buy these straight from the supermarket, saving you the hassle of portioning the chicken. Also, chicken cubes are easy to share. You can get small portions for either a single meal or a small family — they’re quicker and easier to cook. 


For sauteed or dry dishes like this, chicken cubes work as well as bone-in chicken. However, bone-in chicken is a must for soups or gravied chicken dishes like ayam kalio or sop ayam Pak Min. The stock derived from the chicken bones really add to the depth of the dish.

The kecap manis, or sweet soy sauce, used here might make the dish a little too sweet for many people’s tastes. In this case, I recommend using Chinese unsweetened dark soy sauce instead, which will work as well. This will result in a darker, almost-black colour to the dish, which might make you think you’re doing something wrong. Don’t freak out over the colour!

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Ayam Kecap Pedas: Spicy Soy Sauce Chicken

Ayam Kecap Pedas: Spicy Soy Sauce Chicken

  • Author: Deyana Goh
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Poultry
  • Method: Sautéing
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Halal


This recipe is for a spicy-sweet sauteed chicken dish, with reduced gravy. Here, chicken cubes are cooked in sauteed spices and herbs, chillies, and sweet soy sauce.


  • 200g chicken, cubed
  • 2 tsp chopped spring onions
  • 2 large green chillies, sliced
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled & chopped
  • 1 inch galangal, peeled & sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised & sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100 ml water
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Wash the chicken cubes and soak in water, salt and lime juice for 15 min. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan or wok, over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots. Sauté until soft and fragrant, about 3 min.
  3. Add the chopped ginger, garlic and spring onions. Sauté until fragrant, about 2 min.
  4. Add the white pepper, lemongrass, galangal, green chillies and bird’s eye chillies. Sauté for another 2 min.
  5. Add the sweet soy sauce, bay leaf and water. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add the chicken. Lower the heat and continue to cook until the chicken is fully cooked through, and the gravy is reduced, about 10 min. Stir continuously.
  7. Increase the heat and stir until the sauce has thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the heat and serve.

Ayam Kecap Pedas is ready


  • The number of chillies used in this dish is moderate; if you like really spicy food, feel free to add more, and if you don’t, you can reduce or eliminate the bird’s eye chillies altogether.

Keywords: Kecap Manis, Spicy

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    • Yes for sure! But for bone-in chicken legs, I’d personally double the amount of shallots (this is optional). Also, use 300 ml of water instead of 100 ml and extend Step 6 from 10 minutes to at least 25-30 minutes (until the chicken is cooked), because bone-in chicken legs take much longer.

  1. Cooked it today, it tasted really nice. Sourness brought by lime juice and lemongrass was extraordinary. Greetings from Ukraine.

    • Yes, absolutely! If you prefer to use the whole chicken breast without slicing or cubing it, I suggest increasing the amount of water to be added to about 300ml or so, depending on the size of the chicken breast, and letting it cook for slightly longer on low heat (until the chicken is cooked through). Alternatively, you could cube the chicken breast into 1-2 inch cubes. In this case reduce the amount of water slightly (less than 100ml – again depending on the size of the breast) and make sure it’s cooked on really low heat for a shorter time to prevent overcooking. In both cases you might want to add a bit of chicken stock to give the dish added flavour that’s missing because of the lack of bones.


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