Ayam Penyet. A Flattened Indonesian Chicken Recipe

This is an Indonesian ayam penyet recipe made by my mum and one of her Indonesian friends. Ayam means chickenPenyet means flattenedsquashed. It is literally a flattened chicken recipe, and it really is a squashed chicken recipe.


However, ayam penyet is a little more than just that. The cooking process has three basic steps.

Step 1

Cook the chicken in it’s amazing blend of spices and grated coconut. If possible cook it 24 hours beforehand so the flavours can mix together better.

Step 2

Once its cooked you hit it on a flat mortar to flatten it and, I suppose, make it more tender.

Step 3

Re-cook the chicken. Oh, there is one more step:

Cooking ayam penyet Indonesian chicken recipe

Step 4

Eat and enjoy!

This ayam penyet was made this summer with my mum and our friend, Santi. Even though I love this dishes and was very excited to post it, I had to learn what some of the ingredients are called. Luckily for this ayam penyet Santi had made some notes of the recipe. In Indonesian. So I photographed it so I could have cheat sheet.

Ayam penyet recipe

Ayam penyet Indonesian flattened chicken recipe

Ayam Penyet Recipe


1kg chicken – cut into pieces
1 1/2 cup coconut – grated
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch coriander seeds
black pepper
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
bay leaves
lemon kaffir leaves
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Grind the onion, garlic, coriander, black pepper, salt and brown sugar in a mortar. Heat the coconut oil in a big pan. Cook the chicken for a few minutes on medium heat. Add the coconut and the mixture obtained in the mortar. Cook for 5 minutes. Add some lemongrass, bay leaves and lemon kaffir leaves.

Once it’s cook, let it cool, or for 24 hours if you did it in advance.

Once cool, take each piece of chicken and squash it on the mortar.

Put all the chicken back in the pan and re-cook without re-adding any additional oil until the coconut is dry.


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  1. Saskia (1=2) 2013-09-26 at 00:26

    Am I allowed to say this looks DELICIOUS. Ayam is a quite well-known brand of spices and curry pastes here. Funny to know it means ‘chicken’.

    1. Sofia 2013-09-26 at 20:55

      You can say it 🙂 Ha, it is funny about the brand of curry pastes. I just looked them up now 🙂

  2. billieraspberry 2013-09-26 at 03:48

    Sofia, your blog always makes me hungry ¬.¬ hahaha
    I think it’s the way you write too, you can tell you enjoy steps 1 through 4!! 😀

    1. Sofia 2013-09-26 at 20:57

      If it makes you hungry I suppose I’m doing a job then 🙂 Your blog makes me wish I could play Shostakovich!

  3. Guillermina Bósquez Stover 2013-09-26 at 04:07

    My husband lived in San Francisco and has always enjoyed Indian and Thai curries. Of course, in the Bay Area there were wonderful “mom & pop” restaurants from so many different cultures! And I’m sure there were Indonesian restaurtants. I will try to make this for him…it sounds SCRUMPTIOUS. Notice I didn’t use the “D” word, HAHAHA!

    1. Sofia 2013-09-26 at 20:53

      Hahaha you can use the D word, but I will try not to use any synonyms either 😉

  4. Laura Lynn 2013-09-26 at 09:09

    The recipe is very simple. Not a lot of ingredients and I think I have all of them! This is going on the menu tomorrow. Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Sofia 2013-09-26 at 20:53

      Oh, hang on! My mum says there was a bit of an error (in the recipe in the photo) so I’m going to correct it in a minute!

  5. pianolearner 2013-09-26 at 12:16

    As always your food looks really tasty. The juice in the first photo is really from just the oil and 1 orange?

    1. Sofia 2013-09-26 at 21:08

      Haha I should have told my mum to make a guest post of this. She and her friend made it, I lingered around. So she explained there was an error in the recipe in the photo, so it isnt orange juice, its kaffir leaves… All the liquid, therefore is some added water so that the whole thing won’t burn while cooking.

  6. dedy oktavianus pardede 2013-09-26 at 14:29

    Yay, Itu terlihat lezat sekali…..
    Btw, i’m not quite sure weather is flatened or bruised chicken to describe ayam penyet, but is absolutely delicous,
    For serving, we used to bruised the chicken (placed above the sambal) with pestle IN FRONT OFF THE GUESSES…..
    you should try some Sofia…..
    IMPRESSED your guesses girl!

    1. eleieleika 2013-09-26 at 17:17

      Salam kenal Dedy, saya mamanya Sofia, 🙂

      You are right about sambal, we had it too on the table, she loves sambal too.
      So you live in Palembang?, so lucky you can have pempek, tekwan, model lenggang, submarine, dll ….dll. very close.
      I was there too, well, when I was little, that is why I love so much the food and interduced my husband and children with those delicious (oops!) dishes. I like your blog. (y)

    2. Sofia 2013-09-26 at 20:24

      Hey my mum likes your blog 🙂
      Do you mean impress the guests? 🙂 It must be even better with some sambal!

  7. Kiss & Make-up 2013-09-26 at 15:00

    Well ,it doesn’t look very appetizing to me, to be honest. But maybe that’s just me. And hey, it’s the taste that counts anyway right!

    1. Sofia 2013-09-26 at 15:32

      It’s also not vegetarian!

      1. Kiss & Make-up 2013-09-26 at 15:35

        Oh but I can also appreciate non-veggie recipes. My boyfriend eats meat and fish so I cook both veggie and non-veggie 🙂

        1. Sofia 2013-09-26 at 15:37

          I admire that! My mum doesn’t eat pork and does the same, she cooks some for us and something else for her. I do admit that this dish was very unphotogenic 🙂

  8. eleieleika 2013-09-26 at 17:06

    i think…. I need to make some correction of the ingredients of the foto of the recipe written on the paper by Santi to me; she wrote “jeruk” but it was meant “daun jeruk” (lemon kaffir leaves?) and you missed “salam” (I use bay leaves as substitute). And w don´t use sesame oil for stir fry the ingredients, peanut or sunflower oil will do, If I don´t have both oil use light olive oil. And no orange juice involved in this recipe. The second phase of cooking actualy grilled the flattened chicken by the bbq or pan without oil until the grated coconut become dry and served on top. 🙂

    Let me know if you have any doubt about dishes from mi cocina, un beso. 🙂

    1. Sofia 2013-09-26 at 20:59

      Ahhhhhhh no wonder I thought it was weird that it would be jus jeruk, hehe. I couldnt find the translation for salam so I though Santi was saying hello in the middle of the recipe 🙂 I’ll edit the recipe in the post now, ok?

      1. eleieleika 2013-09-26 at 21:04

        Hahahaha…. SALAM sayang dari Santi et moi…… lol 🙂

        1. Sofia 2013-09-26 at 21:08

          Yes, hello to Santi too hehe…

          1. eleieleika 2013-09-26 at 22:02

            ooops sorry, just realized that you put a bunch of corriander, is not the leves, but the seed (ground corriander seed) 🙂 oh lala… I also meant coconut oil (didn’t realize I wrote peanut while my mind thought coco). May be you just try to make this recipe and rewrite it again…. you friends bloggers must have been confused.

  9. apartmentwife 2013-09-27 at 08:11

    this looks delicious and is inspiring me to go find something that will come somewhere near close to satisfying the hunger i’m now feeling. and… i would definitely like reading your posts if you were a little less politically correct (might be a fun twist, right? who knows what could happen..)

    1. Sofia 2013-10-18 at 19:46

      I am trying hard to be less politically correct but I haven’t shocked myself yet!

  10. SJPONeill 2013-10-12 at 12:03

    Looks both scrummy and easy to make..pretty sure that I have all the makings here already so will try to add this to this week’s menu…if I do, I’ll post my effort up on Masterchef Raurimu…

    1. Sofia 2013-10-18 at 19:53

      I need to search for it to see if you posted it..

      1. SJPONeill 2013-10-19 at 09:43

        Thought I had some chicken but could only find drumsticks – have bought some today on my visit to the big city so it will be on the menu this week…

      2. SJPONeill 2013-10-24 at 00:17

        First phase complete; chilling in the fridge now (the chicken, not me..!)

        1. Sofia 2013-10-24 at 00:18

          Oh well done for now!

          1. SJPONeill 2013-10-24 at 12:20

            Flattened, cooked and consumed – mmmm, very nice – great recipe, easy and awesome…

            1. Sofia 2013-10-24 at 13:39

              I´m so proud of you! I’ll tell my mum 🙂

  11. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward 2013-10-13 at 21:15

    What a unique recipe! Thank you for sharing. What is your food memory behind it? When did you first have it? You mentioned it is your mum’s recipe. Who is Mr. H? Lovely blog post.

    1. Sofia 2013-10-13 at 21:21

      Hahaha its actually hilarious because this was the 1st time I tried it. My mum made it with another Indonesian friend of hers – who is from a different area of Indonesia, thus different dishes! Mr. H. is my fiance 🙂

      1. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward 2013-10-17 at 02:38

        That is so interesting (the variance of one food within a culture!). So, which dish do you prefer? Mazel tov on your engagement to Mr. H! How exciting! When is “the date”?

  12. Billy Tarter 2014-11-08 at 20:20

    I’m sure this is very tasty, but it’s not like any ayam penyet I’ve ever had. And I’ve eaten it a few bajillion times, after living in Indonesia for 5 years. You are missing shallots and chiles, and very possibly tomatoes too. Ayam penyet is a “chicken crushed with chiles” dish. Without the chiles and red color, it might taste great, but it’s something else entirely.

    1. Sofia 2014-11-08 at 20:22

      Hi Billy, this one was made by my mum (100% Indonesian) and another Indonesian friend. I would guess depending on the island the same dish can vary a great deal. A red and spicy ayam penyet sounds great 🙂

      1. Billy Tarter 2014-11-09 at 02:54

        I suppose it could differ… but like most dishes in Indonesia, it comes from a specific region and there is almost always a “correct” way to make it. For example Rendang comes from Sumatra, and if you eat it in Java there is still a right and a wrong way to make it.

        I see in Santi’s original note above it says “bawang merah” which are shallots, but in your recipe it looks like maybe you forgot those? Or perhaps used regular white onions instead? In fact, the more I think about it, that’s probably what’s different about your recipe.

  13. Billy Tarter 2014-11-09 at 02:56

    And ayam penyet is always spicy with chiles, by definition. A non-chile version is something else. I’m not trying to be know-it-all… but after eating ayam penyet from dozens of different cooks, it was always spicy with chiles in it. And it was explained to me the same way, by my Indo friends.


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