Recipe: Indonesian Fried Chicken from Fire Islands

The cult version of IFC from Yogyakarta

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<i>Fire Islands</i> Indonesian fried chicken

Fire Islands Indonesian fried chicken [©Murdoch Books]

<i>Fire Islands</i> by Eleanor Ford


 The sights, sounds and tastes of Indonesia captivated Eleanor Ford during her childhood years. They drew her back in later years so her own children could experience the rich life in the world's largest archipelago.

Her book, Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia is far more than a cookbook and imparts a much deeper knowledge of, and appreciation for,  Indonesian food and culture. It takes you on a wondrous culinary and cultural adventure and provides plenty of unusual, yet accessible recipes that represent the tastes of particular parts of Indonesia along the way.

This recipe may well replace the fast food alternative in your household!

Eleanor Ford writes:

Indonesian Fried Chicken (IFC) is the fast food of choice. There are as many variants as there are islands in the archipelago, but to my mind this cult version from Yogyakarta is the ultimate.

Chicken legs are poached in spice-scented coconut water, which both flavours and tenderises the meat. The final frying gives a crunchy golden crust.

Indonesian Fried Chicken

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 chicken legs, skin on
  • 700 ml (scant 3 cups) coconut water (1 large young coconut)
  • 3 small red Asian shallots ,roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 cm (1¼ inches) ginger, skin scrubbed, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • oil, for deep-frying


  • Marinate the chicken in the coconut water, all the aromatics and salt for a couple of hours in the fridge.
  • Transfer everything to a pan. The chicken should be fully covered with liquid, so top up with water if needed.
  • Cover and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and leave the pan covered for the chicken to cool slowly in the broth.
  • After 50 minutes the meat should be cooked through and tender. Strain the boiling liquid and use for soup – the flavour is fantastic.
  • Dry the chicken legs well and keep in the fridge until you are ready to eat.
  • Season the flour with salt and pepper and use to give the chicken legs a dusty coating.
  • Heat oil for deep-frying in a large pan or wok. When it reaches 170°C (325°F) or bubbles form around a spoon handle, add the chicken.
  • Fry until golden brown.

Menu ideas: I like the Balinese pairing for fried chicken – a salad made from cucumber, thinly sliced raw Thai aubergine (eggplant) and lemon basil leaves. Squeeze over lime juice and you have the perfect fresh contrast to the crisp, oily meat. .

This recipe from Fire Islands is reproduced here with the kind permission of the publishers.

Read more in the press release and see links below for further recipes.

Fire Islands: recipes from Indonesia is by Eleanor Ford is published by Murdoch Books (Sydney, NSW; May 2019; Hc; 240pp; RRP A$49.99). It is available for purchase directly from the publisher and from good bookshops nationally.

It can also be purchased online via »


  • Indonesia - all (ID)

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September 03rd, 2019
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