Sweet ginger chicken


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

The Chinese influence on this chicken stir-fry is clear, but the sauce has an added treacly depth from Indonesian palm sugar and kecap manis. It is dark and glossy and permeated by the husky heat of fresh ginger. A perfect speedy supper, popular with children.


  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 7 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 cm ( inches) ginger, peeled, sliced thickly and smashed
  • 1 large red chilli, seeded and sliced
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), sliced
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark palm sugar (gula jawa), shaved
  • 1 tablespoon kecap manis


Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Prepare all the other ingredients for stir-frying as you’ll need to move quickly once it gets going.

Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan over a high heat. Stir-fry the chicken until half cooked through, then remove from the pan, leaving the oil behind.

Over a medium heat, soften the onion. Add the garlic and smashed ginger slices and cook for a minute. Then add the chilli and spring onion and stir through. Finally, in goes the tomato. Stir-fry everything for a minute more.

Return the chicken to the wok and add 175 ml (¾ cup) water. Season with oyster sauce, soy sauce and palm sugar: umami, salty, sweet.

Bubble until the chicken is cooked through and succulent and the liquid has reduced to a glossy sauce. Finally, stir through the kecap manis and taste for seasoning.