Barbecued sweet soy chicken

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

A no-fuss recipe for salty, sticky, glazed barbecued chicken. Cold, this makes perfect picnic food, or if I am serving it hot from the barbecue I like to make a dipping sauce where lime juice and chilli are a foil for the irresistible sweetness of kecap manis.


  • 8 chicken drumsticks, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis
  • 2 tablespoons dark palm sugar (gula jawa), grated
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, cracked
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, cracked

Sweet soy dipping sauce

  • 4 tablespoons kecap manis
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1-3 bird’s eye chillies, finely sliced


Slash each of the chicken drumsticks three or four times with a sharp knife and put into a bowl.

Mix together all the other ingredients to make a marinade and toss with the chicken. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight if you can. Bring up to room temperature before cooking.

Heat a barbecue until the coals are dusty grey and smouldering hot. Cook the drumsticks for about 20 minutes, turning as needed. Baste occasionally with the leftover marinade to build up a sticky, dark coating. You want the chicken to be charred and crisp but if it is colouring too quickly, move to a cooler part of the barbecue to cook more gently. Use a skewer to make sure there are no pink juices and the chicken is cooked through (a meat thermometer should read 74°C/165°F).

Meanwhile mix all the ingredients together for the dipping sauce. Serve alongside the chicken.