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Authentic Recipe of Ayam Woku. Refreshing Traditional Indonesian Spicy Woku Chicken from Manado.

This refreshing and spicy chicken recipe from Manado Ayam Woku is guaranteed to be authentic and curated by local housewives.

Things to know about Ayam Woku Recipe

Woku is a traditional Indonesian style of cooking, native to the Manado region of Northern Sulawesi. The name woku is derived from the local woka leaf, which initially is what the woku dish is being wrapped in.

An interesting fact about the woka leaf is that the Minahasan people (native people of the Manado region) used the woka leaf to wrap dead bodies before burying them in the past. Another use of the woka leaf is as a roof replacement to protect the Minahasan people from the environment.

This variant of the woku dish is called woku belanga, which translates into “pan woku.” This variant exists due to the difficulty of the Minahasan people living in the city to obtain the woka leaves. This dish originally used fish as the main ingredient, but we will use chicken in this recipe.

Ayam Woku – Traditional Indonesian Spicy Woku Chicken from Manado

Local Recipe Name with Local Characters: Ayam Woku
User submitted Recipe
5 from 1 vote

— General Atributes of This Recipe:

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Dish Type Stew Recipes
Main Cooking Method Braising


Servings 8 Portions
Calories / Serving 57 kcal


  • 1 whole Chicken Free-range
  • 5 stems Fresh Basil
  • 5 pcs Kaffir Lime Leaf
  • 1 pc Young Turmeric Leaf
  • 4 pcs Bay Leaf
  • 2 sticks Scallion
  • 1 pcs Tomato Medium
  • 1 tsp Chicken Bouillon Powder
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp White Sugar – Regular Sugar – Granulated Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 400 ml (13.53 floz) Water
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Ingredients for Blended Spice

  • 6 pcs Shallot Onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 3 pcs Red Chili Pepper
  • 4 pcs Red Bird’s Eye Chili Pepper
  • 1.5 thumb Turmeric – Curcuma Longa
  • 1 thumb Fresh Ginger Root
  • 3 pcs Candlenut


Blended Spice

  • Peel the turmeric and ginger. Along with the candlenuts, toast them in a hot non-oiled pan until fragrant or lightly charred.
  • Remove the stems from the chili pepper, and add them to a food processor along with the shallot, garlic, and toasted spices.
  • Blend them until smooth and place them into a bowl.

Cooking the Woku

  • Cut the chicken into 8 pieces and set aside
  • Remove the basil leaves from the stem
  • Into a large wok, add vegetable oil and bring it to heat.
  • Fry the blended spices until fragrant.
  • Add all the leaves except for the basil leaves into the pan and mix until very fragrant.
  • Add the chicken into the wok and mix well until all pieces are covered thoroughly with the spices.
  • Add water into the wok, make sure to stir well until the spices are well incorporated.
  • When the water starts to boil, add salt, sugar, and chicken bouillon powder to correct the taste of the dish.
  • Cook until the chicken becomes tender (around 10-15 minutes) or until the water starts to reduce a bit.
  • Once almost cooked, slice the tomato and add it to the wok along with the scallions and basil leaves. Bring it to a boil once more and turn off the heat.
  • The dish is done!

— Specific Atributes of This Recipe:

I am looking for… Big Batch Cooking


Calories: 57kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 0.4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 0.1mgSodium: 644mgPotassium: 26mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 76IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword Ayam Woku Recipe, Traditional Indonesian Spicy Woku Chicken
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Cooking tip for making Ayam Woku

You can adjust the heat of the dish by adding or reducing the number of peppers used.

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What to serve with Ayam Woku?

This dish is best served with warm white rice.

Variations of Ayam Woku

You can use any kind of fish as the main ingredient.

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