Semur Ayam: Indonesian Chicken Stew

Semur Ayam: Indonesian Chicken Stew

Semur ayam is a part of Indonesian cuisine. I dont know how to call it in English, so I think it could be Indonesian chicken stew. The word semur itself is defined as a dish with kecap manis or thick sweet soy sauce, special sauce that a lot of Indonesians and southeast asian people use in their meals. Perhaps do you know nasi goreng? We use kecap in nasi goreng, too.

The main ingredients for semur can be vary. You can use any kind of meats, tofu, tempe, potatoes, jengkol, or the mixture of them. Well, I wont explain about jengkol though. Long story short, today I will share semur recipe with chicken as the main ingredient.

Kecap manis or thick sweet soy sauce is made from black soy beans and palm sugar. You can substitute it with soy sauce and palm sugar. But I dont know if they will tasted the same because Ive never tried it myself.

Many people I know usually fry the chicken first. But because I want to make it as a healthier version, I sauté the ground spices in a pan with a dash of oil until fragrant, throw cups of water and chicken, cook until the water evaporates and the spices is seep into the meat then add kecap manis in the last few minutes. Yum.

Semur Ayam: Indonesian Chicken Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes                                 Yield: 4

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


500 g/1 lb chicken, bone in and skin on

1 stalk lemongrass, crushed

1/3 cup kecap manis*

5 cups water

1 tbsp oil

2 cm ginger, crushed

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp crispy fried shallot

1 tbsp chopped green onion

1 tsp pepper

salt, to taste

For spices paste:

6 candlenut

6 cloves shallots

3 cloves garlic


1. Crush the spices paste with pestle and mortar.

2. In a pan sauté the mixture over medium heat with oil until fragrant.

3. Add water, chicken, ginger, bay leaves, and ground nutmeg.

4. Bring to boil about 15 minutes.

5. Add kecap manis and salt and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

6. Remove from heat.

7. Serve over steam rice and sprinkle with crispy fried shallot and green onion.


For 1 tbsp kecap manis substitute: 1/2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp palm sugar block

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