On a recent trip to Portland OR, we learned a lot about their inspiring food pod scene, and the ever expanding array of regional cuisines from around the world.  One of our favorite places was Gado Gado (the Indonesian term for their peanut sauce) which served a delightful selection of Indonesian food.  We tried their “rice table”, which was a tasting menu.  We were happy, over-stuffed fools at the end of the evening, but we were inspired to work more with the Serious Foodie Indonesian Sambal.  We came up with an amazingly flavorful, simple recipe for an Indonesian BBQ sauce which can be used anytime to pump  up the flavor of any bird – like you might try for the holidays.  The BBQ is so addicting, you might eat it by the spoonfuls.

We did an extensive article on what sambal is – check it out HERE.  The basic traditional sambal is a combo of chili peppers, garlic, lime juice, and salt, ground by hand – then, regional recipes throw in whatever else is on hand to make savory, sweet, and/or umami-rich mixtures. There are as many sambal recipes in Indonesia as there are towns – and each grandma will have their own secrets.  The Serious Foodie Sambal is close to the traditional version, with spicy-hot, garlic-y, citrus-y flavors.

The focus is the BBQ sauce - but the technique we use for making the chicken can be used anytime you cook any poultry. Crispy skin is yummy
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Main Dish, RECIPES
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4 people


  • 1 jar Serious Foodie Indonesian Sambal
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce gluten-free (tamari) is preferable
  • 1/4 cup ketchup We like Sir Kensington
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice Rice wine vinegar can be substituted
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil canola or safflower are preferable
  • 4 chicken thighs, chicken breasts, or combination Turkey, Cornish hens or duck breasts also work with this recipe.


Indonesian BBQ Sauce

  • Stir together the Indonesian sambal, lime juice, soy sauce, and ketchup for the BBQ sauce. Can be made a few days ahead.

Chicken Preparation

  • Pat the chicken dry, and trim off any excess fat - but leave the skin intact.
  • Preheat oven to 425°. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, to taste.
  • Coat a large cast-iron skillet with 1 Tbsp. oil. Arrange chicken, skin side down, in pan and place over medium heat. Cook, undisturbed, until skin underneath is browned, 14–16 minutes.
  • Turn chicken over. Coat the skin generously with the BBQ sauce. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until chicken is cooked through, about 30–45 minutes (internal temperature should be at least 165°).
  • Serve with rice, and a side of Indonesian sambal for those folks who love to add some extra heat.
Keyword Asian chicken, Indonesian, Sambal


Print Friendly, PDF & Email