Grilled Chicken East Kalimantan Style

Origin: Samarinda, East Kalimantan


  • 1 kg free-range chicken or chicken breast
  • 400 ml thick coconut milk
  • 1 stem lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, bruished
  • 2 pc salam or bay leaves
  • 2 cm galangale, bruised
  • 2 cm fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp palm/brown sugar
  • 1 pc lime, use the juice
  • 1 tsp tamarind pulp, soak with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • oil to fry the paste

Spice for the paste

  • 6 pc large red chillies, de-seeded, chopped
  • 10 pc shalllots, chopped
  • 4-5 gloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ tsp roasted/fried dried shrimp paste/terasi (optional)

Grilled Chicken East Kalimantan Style

Here it is a typical chicken dish from the Samarinda – The capital city of East Kalimantan Province: "Ayam Cincane". This aromatic grilled chicken, coated with a thick coconut sauce, hhhhmm ….. just costly and delicious;-). It is quite similar to Mix Spicy Chicken from Java but it contains a little bit of shrimp paste, an aunthentic Indonesian cooking ingredients 😉 The more spice you use the more delicious it will be!!! In his hometown Ayam Cincane is always grilled over the charcoal. But if making barbecue is a big issue for you especially during a winter, just grill it on electric stove or even easier, just bake on the oven. I have done the latest 2 options many times due to practicality & efficiency ;-). And the result is satisfying.
Important Note: I should warn you that dried shrimp paste smells quite awful especially for Europeans, but the taste in this dish or other finished dishes (if required) is greatfully aromatic and essential to the authenticity of Indonesian cuisine. Have a try!! My suggestion, use it only little at first as I write in this recipe. It is less than in my Indonesian version.


  • Cut the chicken into serving portions, rub all over the chicken with lime juice & salt. Set aside for 15 minutes. Rinse the chicken under running water, set aside to drain or pat-dry with kitchen paper.
  • Put all ingredients for the paste in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. (If necessery add a little bit oil to help the blending process).
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok or shallowpan. (Don't add oil if already added in a blender). Stir fry the paste, lemon grass, galingale, ginger and bay leaf over medium heat. Stirring all the time until the paste well cooked & fragrant. (approx. 10 minutes)
  • Add the chickenbreast and stir to mix. Cook until the chicken becomes harder and it's colour turns to white.
  • Pour-in the coconut milk, add salt, sugar and the tamarind water and bring to boil on a maximum heat. Stir occationally.
  • Adjust the heat into medium and simmer until the chicken getting tender and the sauce becomes thicker. Adjust the seasoning, add salt & sugar if necessary.
  • Continue to simmer until the sauce is completely absorbed and the chicken pieces become relatively brown. Stirring all the time.
  • Grill the chicken on charcoal or under electric/gas grill or bake the chicken in a oven with the thick sauce over it to 350°F (180°C) for about 25 minutes. Serve hot with rice.
Keyword chicken, grilled chicken, Indonesia, Kalimantan

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