Ayam penyet (Javanese for smashed fried chicken) is Indonesian — more precisely East Javanese cuisine — fried chicken dish consisting of fried chicken that is smashed with the pestle against mortar to make it softer, served with sambal, slices of cucumbers, fried tofu and tempeh. In Indonesia penyet dishes, such as fried chicken and ribs are commonly associated with Surabaya, the capital city of East Java. The most popular ayam penyet variant is ayam penyet Suroboyo.
Ayam penyet is known for its spicy sambal, which is made with a mixture of chilli, anchovies, tomatoes, shallots, garlics, shrimp paste, tamarind and lime juice. Like its namesake, the mixture is then smashed into a paste to be eaten with the dish.
Penyet is Javanese term for “squeezed” or “pressed”, thus ayam penyet means “squeezed chicken”. It is quite similar to another popular Indonesian fried chicken dish ayam geprek, as both are fried chicken smashed and mixed together with hot and spicy sambal chili paste. The difference is ayam penyet is a traditional Javanese ayam goreng half-cooked in bumbu kuning (yellow spice paste) and then deep fried in hot palm oil. Ayam geprek however, is more akin to western-style (American) fried chicken, which is crispy fried chicken coated with batter, or known in Indonesia as ayam goreng tepung (battered fried chicken).
Today ayam penyet is commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. Catherine Ling of CNN describes ayam penyet as one of the “40 Singapore foods we can’t live without”. It has recently surged in popularity across Southeast Asia, where various chains of franchises has opened selling the dish along with other Indonesian delic