Home > Ayam Tuturuga (Manadonese Chicken Tuturuga)

Ayam Tuturuga (Manadonese Chicken Tuturuga)

Posting Date: 06/28/22

Ayam Tuturuga (Manadonese Chicken Tuturuga)

Ayam Tuturuga (Manadonese Chicken Tuturuga) originated in Manado, North Sulawesi. There are many dishes from this area. They are mostly hot. For this recipe, I have toned down the heat and made it not hot at all by using only 3 teaspoons of sambal oelek. To make it mild, use about 1.5 tablespoons of sambal oelek. Increase the amount of sambal oelek if you want it hotter. Instead of sambal oelek, you can use fresh red chili peppers if you can find them in the Asian stores.

The sauce in ayam Tuturuga is very flavorful and really good with rice. Ayam Tuturuga has become one of my favorite Indonesian’s chicken dishes because of the sauce. It reminds me of Rendang (Beef Rendang) because the ingredients are almost the same but with the addition of basil and pandan leaves. Pandan leaves smell grassy. It gives a nice aroma to your dish. You can find pandan leaves in Asian stores, especially Asian stores specializing in Vietnamese ingredients. They are normally sold fresh or frozen. Do not use pandan essence because it will make the dish green. If you cannot find pandan leaves, you can skip them or use bay leaves instead. Since pandan leaf is long, you will need to cut it into 2.5” long and make a knot after cutting it. That way, it will be easier to handle during cooking and discard before serving.

The sauce also uses kaffir lime leaves which can be found fresh or frozen in Asian stores specializing in Vietnamese ingredients. Kaffir lime leaves smell citrusy. Thus, if you cannot find them, you can substitute with lime zests. In addition, the recipe also uses lemongrass which can be found in the produce section of Asian stores. Some big local grocery stores also sell it in the produce section. They may even have the lemongrass paste sold in a tube in the produce section. So, if you cannot find fresh lemongrass, you can also use lemongrass paste.

In this recipe, I use drumsticks because they are always cheaper in my grocery store. However, you can use other parts of the chicken, such as breast, wing, or thigh.

The recipe serves for 3 people.


  • 6 chicken drumsticks. You can use chicken breast, thigh, or wing instead.
  • For marinating the chicken: 1 lime
  • For marinating the chicken: 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For spice paste: 6 small or 3 large size shallots, quartered
  • For spice paste: 3 cloves of garlic, halved
  • For spice paste: 3 teaspoons sambal oelek. Add more if you like the heat. You may use fresh red chili peppers if you can find them.
  • For spice paste: 5 pieces candlenuts, halved. Subsitute with macadamia nuts if you cannot find candlenuts.
  • For spice paste: 1" fresh ginger, quartered
  • For spice paste: 2 teaspoon turmeric powder. If you can find fresh turmeric, use 1" fresh turmeric and cut into quarter.
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 lemongrass, white part smashed with the back of the knife and green part discarded. Some big local grocery stores sells them in the produce section. If you cannot find fresh lemongrass, you can also use lemongrass paste sold in a tube. Use 1.5 tablespoon of lemongrass paste in this case.
  • 3 pandan leaves, cut into 2.5" and knotted so that it is easier to handle during cooking. Skip if you cannot find pandan leaves or use bay leaves instead.
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, torn at the edge to release the flavor. You can substitute with 1.5 teaspoon lime zest if you cannot find kaffir lime leaves.
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 200 ml water
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • pinch of black pepper or to taste
  • 20 basil leaves


  1. Place chicken in a ziploc bag. Squeeze lime over the chicken inside the ziploc bag. Sprinkle salt over the chicken. Seal the bag, making sure you let the air out of the bag. Move the chicken inside the bag so that it is coated with the lime and salt. Let it sit in the fridge for 30 min.
  2. While the chicken is being marinated, place shallots, garlic, sambal oelek, candlenuts, ginger, and turmeric powder in a food processor. Pulse it until it becomes smooth paste.
  3. After the chicken has been marinated for 30 min, drain the chicken. Pour 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a pot big enough for the chicken and the liquid. Make sure the pot is not too big; otherwise, you would not be able to fuly immerse the chicken. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add spice paste, lemongrass, pandan leaves, and kaffir lime leaves into the pot. Saute it until it becomes fragrant. Add chicken into the pot. Cook the chicken until it changes color and becomes white. Turn over the chicken to cook on the other side. Cook until the chicken is white on all sides. Add coconut milk and water into the pot. Stir the pot to mix the liquid with the spice paste. Make sure the chicken is fully submerged in the liquid. Add salt, sugar, and black pepper. Stir to mix the seasoning. During cooking, make sure you stir the liquid from time to time to make sure coconut milk is not separated. Cook until the chicken is fully cooked, i.e. when the temperature inside the chicken is 165 deg F, and the sauce has been reduced to half. Add basil leaves into the pot and stir the pot. Taste the sauce and add more seasoning if needed. Remove from the heat. Discard lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and pandan leaves.
  4. Transfer the chicken and sauce into a serving bowl. Serve with warm rice.

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