Ayam Rica-Rica: Manado Spicy Fried Chicken

This recipe for fried chicken sauteed in sambal is a regional specialty of Manado, North Sulawesi. It’s cooked with chillies and numerous herbs.

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Chicken rica rica is one of the culinary specialties of Manado, a region in the province of North Sulawesi. In Manadonese, rica means both chilli and spicy. Chicken rica-rica is chicken that is cooked with chilli or rica, indicating that it is very spicy. There are many ways to cook rica-rica, but all the variations have one thing in common: they’re always very spicy. 

Rica-rica is not a method used exclusively for cooking chicken, but also for other meats such as pork, beef and fish. In general, rica-rica is a term for cooking using chilli as one of the main ingredients, giving it its characteristic spicy flavor.

Manadonese people love their chilli and the super hot sensation it causes. It takes practice to compete with them in terms of eating very spicy food.


I’ve tried cooking it using a minimum amount of chili. You can also substitute the bird’s eye chilies with big red chilies (they’re less spicy and lend a nice red color to the dish). Either way, the whole thing tastes delicious. Make sure there is a nice balance of sweet, salty, sour and spicy, and you’re good to go!

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Ayam Rica-Rica: Manado Spicy Fried Chicken

Ayam Rica-Rica: Manado Spicy Fried Chicken

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1x
  • Category: Chicken & Poultry
  • Method: Pan-Fry
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Halal


This mouth-watering fried chicken sauteed in sambal is a regional specialty of Manado, North Sulawesi. It’s meant to be extremely spicy, and is cooked with chillies and numerous herbs. This dish has taken the whole of Indonesia by storm!


  • 1/2 chicken, portioned
  • 5 chilies, bird’s eye
  • 5 chilies, big red
  • 7 shallots 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 cm ginger
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised and knotted 
  • 5 lime leaves 
  • 3 red tomatoes, chopped 
  • 2 tbs lime juice 
  • 200 gr kemangi (Indonesian basil). Use Thai basil if not available.
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • Half cup vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Half tsp sugar
  • ⅓ cup water


    Ayam Rica Rica ingredients
    Ayam Rica Rica ingredients


  1. Wash the chicken thoroughly.
  2. Rub the chicken with half tsp salt and 2 tbs vinegar or lime juice, and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Then drain the liquid.
  3. Using a food processor or blender, blend the shallots, garlic and ginger into a coarse paste. Set aside. This will be Paste 1.
  4. Separately, blend the red chillies and bird’s eye chillies. Set aside. This will be Paste 2.
  5. Heat half cup of oil in a wok and fry the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side. Set aside.
  6. Using another wok, heat 3 tbs vegetable oil, sauté Paste 1 for 4 minutes or until fragrant, then add paste 2. Fry for about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the lemongrass and lime leaves, sauté for another 2 minutes or until fragrant. 
  8. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and sugar.
  9. Add the chicken, lime juice and water. Stir well.
  10. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Adjust the seasoning.
  11. Add the basil leaves. Cook for about 2 minutes. 


  • For this recipe, do adjust the amount of chilli according to your tolerance level.

Keywords: Spicy, Sulawesi

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