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Indonesian Chicken with Sambal Matah

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This Indonesian chicken recipe is so easy to prepare and tastes amazing!

While travelling in Bali, Caroline and I were introduced to many Indonesian chicken recipes. Some were quite complicated and others were very simple. This is one of the simple Indian chicken recipes that is packed with the delicious flavour of homemade sambal matah. 

Indonesian chicken with sambal matah

About this recipe…

One of the most delicious and easy starters I tried in Ubud, Bali was at a place called Biah Biah. The restaurant was recommended by a friend and every dish was amazing. Chicken with sambal matah was one of many dishes we ordered. That’s it in the photo above. No, I can’t prepare the banana leaves so they look that pretty but if you can it does look good.

It’s really just a light, chicken salad that’s packed with the delicious flavours of a raw sambal.

If you can’t be bothered to cook one evening and want a healthy dinner, purchase a cooked rotisserie chicken and peel off all the meat to use in this recipe. That works fine.

What is Sambal Matah?

There are many different sambals served in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Each region has their own special version. Sambal Matah is hugely popular all over Bali and it translates as raw sambal. It’s similar to the way you would prepare a Mexican salsa.

This version, however requires a little cooking. Shrimp paste and finely sliced lemongrass are first fried in coconut oil. This cooks the shrimp paste and tenderises the lemongrass. The shrimp paste, coconut oil and lemongrass mixture is then poured over the raw ingredients. It tastes incredible!

Do I have to add the chicken?

Nope. Sambal matah is good as a side dish for many different Indonesian dishes. It’s used similar to a Mexican salsa. You also don’t have to add the shrimp paste if you are vegetarian.

Indonesian chicken with sambal matah in pictures…

Ingredients for Indonesian chicken with sambal matah

Get all of your ingredients together before starting. It’s a lot easier that way.

Sambal matah ingredients mixed together.

Mix all of the sambal matah ingredients, expect the lemongrass, oil and shrimp paste together in a bowl.

Frying lemongrass and shrimp paste in coconut oil.

Fry the lemongrass and shrimp paste in the coconut oil. Then pour it over the other sambal ingredients and stir it in.

Frying chicken in a pan

Now fry the chicken in the same pan. You can add a bit more oil if needed to cook it through.

Shredded chicken in the pan

Shred the chicken with your hands. You might want to wear heat proof gloves to do this.

Mixing the sambal matah

Mix the shredded chicken with the sambal matah. The chicken can be added at room temperature or hot.

Indonesian chicken with sambal matah

This Indonesian chicken with sambal matah is delicious served with sambal oelek or sriracha sauce.


If you like this chicken with sambal matah recipe, you might also like to try some of these.

Indonesian Chicken Sate
Indonesian Fried Chicken
Sambal Oelek – Indonesian hot sauce
Chicken with Sambal Matah
Babi Kecap
Spicy Green Beans Indonesian Style
Indonesian Bakso
Ikan Bakar – Indonesian Fried Fish
Nasi Goreng
Mee Goreng
Sambal La La – Spicy Clams
Indonesian Blackened Fish
Seafood Laksa
Chicken Rendang
Beef Rendang
Butter Egg Floss Prawns
Malaysian Chicken Curry
Malaysian Devil Curry
Ayam Masak Merah – Malaysian Red Chicken Curry
Chicken Kapitan
Homemade Kecap Manis
Soto Ayam

Have you tried this chicken with sambal matah recipe?

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Yield: 4 - 8

Indonesian Chicken with Sambal Matah

Indonesian chicken with sambal matah
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 8 boneless chicken thighs or breasts, skinned
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) or coconut oil
  • 8 green bird’s eye chilies, chopped finely
  • 2 red jalepenos or bird’s eye chillies
  • 8 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 lime leaves, stem removed and sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste (optional)
  • 2 lemongrass, peeled white part only
  • ½ tsp terasi or Chinese shrimp paste (optional)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil


  1. To make the sambal matah, place the chillies, shallots, garlic, lime leaves and lime juice in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a pan over medium high heat and fry the lemongrass to soften for a couple of minutes. Then add the shrimp paste and fry, stirring continuously for another 30 seconds.
  3. Pour this over the chopped veggies and mix it in. Taste it and add salt and/or sugar to taste. Set aside.
  4. To cook the chicken, season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper to taste. Then heat the oil for the chicken in the same pan over medium high heat.
  5. When visibly hot, add the chicken and cook for about 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. The juices should run clear when pricked with a knife. The cooked temperature for chicken is 75c/165f.
  6. Shred the cooked chicken into bite sized pieces and mix it into the sambal matah. Serve immediately with a few ice cold Bitangs if you like.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 427mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 29g

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