• Balinese grilled chicken and coconut sambal (Asia Unplated with Diana Chan)Source: Asia Unplated with Diana Chan

Introducing your new go-to grilled chicken recipe… First, the chicken is doused in a fragrant paste of turmeric, garlic, kecap manis and more; then, it’s grilled to charcoal-kissed perfection and served with a refreshing coconut sambal.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (41 votes)


  • 1 size 10 chicken, butterflied
  • steamed rice, to serve


  • 5 cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled
  • 2 red Asian shallots, peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 bird's eye chillies
  • 1 tbsp grated palm sugar
  • pinch freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis

Coconut sambal

  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 25 g (¼ cup) desiccated coconut
  • 2 bird's eye chillies, thinly sliced
  • 3 red Asian shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 makrut lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • juice of 1 lime

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time: 3 hours


1. For the paste, place all the ingredients except the oil, fish sauce and kecap manis in a mortar and pestle and pound into a paste. Or you can use a food processor. Transfer the paste to a large bowl and add the oil, fish sauce and kecap manis. Taste the paste to ensure the flavours are balanced.

2. Pat dry the chicken, then add to the marinade and rub all over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight if time permits.

3. Preheat a charcoal grill or a barbecue to medium. Charcoal will give this dish the best flavour.

4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve the marinade for brushing. Place the chicken, bone-side down on the grill and cook, frequently brushing with the marinade, for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is nearly cooked through. Turn and cook the skin-side, brushing with more marinade, until the skin side is golden and lightly charred. You want to try and cook the chicken on the bone side for 60-70 % of the cooking time as this will help prevent too much charring on the skin side.

5. Meanwhile, for the coconut sambal, place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

6. To serve, the chicken chop into smaller pieces and serve with the coconut sambal and steamed rice.


Diana Chan and guests explore the flavours of Asia from her Melbourne home in the second series of Asia Unplated.