Ayam Masak Lemak Pecel Recipe

A recipe version by Chef Rafi Suhairi

If you enjoy Indonesian cuisine, you are likely familiar with the classic Javanese recipe – Ayam Masak Lemak Pecel. This dish is a fusion of two traditional recipes: “Ayam Masak Lemak,” a creamy coconut milk-based chicken curry from Malaysia and Indonesia, and “Pecel,” a Javanese dish typically comprising a mix of vegetables served with peanut sauce.

Not only is the dish delicious, but it also often includes turmeric and lemongrass, both of which are known for their health benefits. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, while lemongrass aids digestion and has antimicrobial effects. A special rempah containing kencur (a native Indonesian ginger) is typically included to impart a smoky flavour as well. This delightful dish offers a perfect blend of flavour and health benefits, making it a beloved favourite among enthusiasts of Indonesian cuisine.


Ayam Masak Lemak Cekur


400g Chicken thigh (Cut into cubes)
10g Coconut oil


3 Shallots (Peeled)
5 pieces Garlic (Peeled)
3 Fresh Red Chili
1cm Fresh Turmeric (Peeled)
2 stalks Lemongrass (Bruised)
2cm Kencur (Kaempferia Galanga)
1 tablespoon Belacan (Shrimp Paste)


Cooking Liquid:
200ml Santan Kara (Coconut Cream)
100ml Water
2 pieces Kaffir Lime Leaf
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon White Sugar
2 tablespoon Coconut Oil


Prepare the Rempah:

1. Combine the shallots, garlic, red chillies, fresh turmeric, Kencur, candlenuts, and Belacan in a pot. Dry fry (sangai) the ingredients until they are fragrant and have a caramelised colour.

2. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, adding a little water if necessary to facilitate blending. Reserve the lemongrass for later use (Chef’s Tip: Do not blend lemongrass together as it will make the Rempah fibrous).


Cooking Method:

1. Heat the coconut oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the Rempah and sauté until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes (Chef’s Tip: sauté until there is a separation between the Rempah and the oil, known as ‘pecah minyak’).

2. Add the chicken pieces to the pot, stirring to coat them well with the Rempah. Cook for 5 minutes, allowing the chicken to brown slightly.

3. Pour in water, stirring well to combine. Add the kaffir lime leaves and turmeric leaves. Season with salt and sugar.

4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Gradually add the coconut milk.

5. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.

6. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt or sugar if needed.



1. Once cooked, serve immediately, garnishing with bawang goreng (fried shallots) and finely sliced turmeric leaf.

2. Enjoy your flavourful Ayam Masak Lemak Pecel!


Share your rendition of Ayam Masak Lemak Pecel on Instagram by tagging us at @shatec.orchard. We’re excited to see your take on this dish. And if you’re eager to delve into more Indonesian cuisine like Martabak Manis and Es Teler, keep an eye out for our upcoming Indonesia workshops led by our SHATEC Alumni, Chef Rafi Suhairi!


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