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  • Writer's pictureAlissa Love

My Mama's Kicap Ayam Recipe (Soy Sauce Chicken)

I bet Kicap Ayam is a favourite among every kid growing up in Singapore. It's sweet, sticky and tender - what's not to love? I know there's a variation no matter what culture you're from. The Chinese make a thinner braised version, the Indians make a drier, almost curried version and Malays make a version with more gravy and with potatoes.

I am sharing here my mom's recipe - she's half Chinese and half Indian - so who knows which influence this comes from! All I know is that it tastes like my childhood. Best cooked with tiny chicken drumlets or wings, overcooked, and falling off the bone.

Recipe serves 3-4 people. 10 mins prep time, total cook time approximately 35 mins.


Marinate chicken

500g chicken drumlets (~10 pieces)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon cornflour

Salt to taste

Blend to a paste

1 onion

1 inch ginger

4 garlic

2-3 fresh chilli

1 tablespoon of water


1 large sliced onions

2-3 whole chili padi

1 smashed lemongrass stick

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

4 cardamon until fragrant.

2 tablespoon dark sweet soy sauce

2 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

3 tablespoon white vinegar

1 cup of water



1. Marinate chicken drumlets in 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 tablespoon cornflour and salt. Set aside for 1 hour.

2. Blend 1 onion, 1 inch ginger, 4 garlic and 2-3 fresh chilli. Add 1 tablespoon of water to get the blender started.

3. Fry the chicken in shallow oil until slightly browned. Remove chicken and set aside.

4. In a large pan, fry the blended ingredients from step 2, 1 large sliced onions, 2-3 whole chili padi, smashed lemongrass stick, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise and 4 cardamon until fragrant.

5. When the mixture is slightly darkened, add 2 tablespoon dark sweet soy sauce, 2 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 3 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 cup of water.

6. Add chicken and coat with the mixture. Try to make sure the chicken is mostly covered with the mixture so it absorbs the dark sauce and adopts it's colour evenly. You can add more water here if needed for this purpose.

7. Cook for 25 - 35 mins, stirring occasionally until chicken is super soft and completely cooked through and the sauce has simmered down to a thick and gooey gravy.



1. Most recipes do not require white vinegar but this is crucial to balance the sweetness and spicyness of the dish. I suspect this is the Chinese influence in this recipe.

2. Instead of chicken drumlets, you can use chicken wings or a whole chicken that's been cut up into small pieces. I like to use drumlets for old times sake :)

3. Salt is not needed in the gravy and the soy and fish sauces are sufficient. I still do marinate the chicken with salt for added flavour.

4. Adding whole chili padi is completely optional but spice is life for me so this is how I love it now that I'm all grown up!

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