Ayam Bakar Sunda – Sundanese Grilled Chicken Recipe

Most people have a misconception that all Javanese dishes are invariably sweet, but the island of Java is home to many different ethnic groups and hence different cooking style, point in case, this grilled chicken from Sunda in West Java. I can guarantee that you won’t get that overt sweetness impression when you bite into the chicken, perfect for those who get sick from the cloying sweetness of Central Javanese dishes.

Drumsticks in Spice Broth.

Almost all traditional Indonesian grilled/fried chicken dishes is a two-step cooking process, braising (we call this ungkep) with a very low heat, and followed by quick grilling/frying. The two-step process may sound like a hassle, but in reality, this is a very smart way of preparing a large batch of chicken to last for many days. Once the chickens are braised, you can store them in fridge/freezer, and when you want to have some grilled/fried chicken, take out some from the fridge/freezer and return them to room temperature, then give them a quick fry/grill to heat the chickens and also to give a nice char.

Drumsticks braised in spiced broth.

Drumsticks braised in spiced broth.

I have found that one batch of the spice broth can be used to braise two batches of 10 chicken drumsticks, for a total of 20 chicken drumsticks. Most similar recipes always state to braise until the broth is all used up with the lid close. From my experience, it will take a really long braising time to use up all the liquid, and it is totally unnecessary, since at 1 hour, the chickens are already super tender and ready to fall off the bones. So what I usually do is to braise 10 drumsticks in my skillet for 1 hour, take those out, and then braise another 10 drumsticks for 1 hour for a total of 20 drumsticks.

Ayam Bakar Sunda - Sundanese Grilled Chicken

Ayam Bakar Sunda – Sundanese Grilled Chicken

Place the braised chicken in a colander/strainer to make sure the chickens are completely dry prior to frying/grilling, especially for frying if you don’t want to end up with crazy splatter all over your kitchen. If I am making a large batch like this, I usually end up broiling the chickens in my oven. First, line a baking tray with aluminum foil, brush each chicken generously with coconut oil (you can use any oil or even butter if you wish), then broil until the surface is charred, brushing more coconut oil as needed. If you are having a BBQ party in the near future, I am sure this is going to be a hit with your guests, and they don’t need to take a lot of time in the grill either, just enough to give some char.

Ayam Bakar Sunda - Sundanese Grilled Chicken

Ayam Bakar Sunda – Sundanese Grilled Chicken

You can eat the chicken as is, but I highly recommend making some sambal terasi or sambal bajak. A side of lalapan, or even some sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, and shredded cabbage/lettuce will be perfect to go along with the chicken.

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