Malbi Ayam

Malbi ayam is a sweet curry stew that consist a rich spice with a sweet and slightly tangy after taste.  It is an original recipe from Palembang, South Sumatra – Indonesia. It’s similiar to Smoor (Dutch) or Semur (Indonesian) that usually made of beef or eggs. The different is it contains  coconut milk and much more richer spice. The sweet taste comes from kecap manis or sweet soy sauce and palm sugar while the tangytaste comes from asam gelugur or dried sliced Garcinia atroviridis. You can replace it with tamarind paste or lime juice. You can use beef of lamb for malbi and I believe they would taste great.

Malbi ayam cook using slow cooking technique. The chicken is stewed or slow cooked with a constant gently stirring to prevent the spices burned out. Low heat is needed to make the coconut milk  caramelized and formed a thick and oily broth. Just like other typical Indonesian dish, this sweet chicken curry is usually serve with a lot of deep fried sliced shallot and chopped spring onion. My family love having lots of sauce in every meal, so I usually not cook it until dried and  I always reduce the coconut milk to make it light.

It’s my first time to cook malbi, I decided to use recipe from my fellow famous food blogger from Palembang bang Dedi, a dentist with passion in cooking and really have deep knowledge about food and cooking technique. I do have to learn a lot from him. And also I will add this menu to my culinary list if I have a chance to visit Palembang one day.

Malbi Ayam

Source : Dentist Chef


Sweet and tangy Chicken Recipe:

  • 1 chicken, cut into 10 pieces
  • daun salam (bay leaves) *I used 3 bay leaves*
  • 2 sereh (lemongrass)
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 50 gr gula merah (palm sugar)
  • 300 ml santan kelapa kental (thick coconut milk) * I used only 150ml coconut milk*
  • 2 slice asam gelugur *optional*
  • 2 tbsp kelapa sangrai (toasted and grounded coconut pulp) *optional*
  •  3 cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 2 cup  water *I used 4 cup water*
  • salt to taste

Sweet Chicken Curry Spice Paste Recipe:

  • 12 shallots *I used half red onion*
  • 8 garlic
  • 3 chillies *optional*
  • 1 tbs pepper
  • 3 cm ginger
  • a pinch of fennel seed
  • a pinch of caraway seed


  • deep fried shallot
  •  chopped spring onion


  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan, stir fry the spice paste until fragrant
  • Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise and coconut milk, continue to stir it another 5 minutes
  • Add the chicken and the rest of ingredients, bring to boil
  • Simmer and continue stirring until the chicken is tender
  • Ready to serve