Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

Indonesian Fried Chicken is the fast food of choice. There are as many variants as there are islands in the archipelago, but to my mind this cult version from Yogyakarta is the ultimate. Chicken legs are poached in spice-scented coconut water, which both flavours and tenderises the meat. The final frying gives a crunchy golden crust.


  • 4 chicken legs, skin on
  • 700 ml (scant 3 cups) coconut water (1 large young coconut)
  • 3 small red Asian shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 cm ( inches) ginger, skin scrubbed, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • oil, for deep-frying


Marinate the chicken in the coconut water, all the aromatics and salt for a couple of hours in the fridge.

Transfer everything to a pan. The chicken should be fully covered with liquid, so top up with water if needed. Cover and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and leave the pan covered for the chicken to cool slowly in the broth. After 50 minutes the meat should be cooked through and tender. Strain the boiling liquid and use for soup - the flavour is fantastic.

Dry the chicken legs well and keep in the fridge until you are ready to eat. Season the flour with salt and pepper and use to give the chicken legs a dusty coating.

Heat oil for deep-frying in a large pan or wok. When it reaches 170°C (325°F) or bubbles form around a spoon handle, add the chicken. Fry until golden brown.