All Recipes/ Low FODMAP/ Meat & Fish

Simple Perfect Ayam Golek (Malaysian “Royal” Roast Chicken)

January 13, 2022 (Last Updated: April 16, 2024)
ayam golek

You won’t find an ayam golek recipe like this on the internet. This recipe for Malaysian ayam golek features an aromatic spiced chicken baked in a delicious cumin coconut marinade. 

This chicken dish is a recipe that has been in my family for many years and passed down from one generation to the next. And today, I’m sharing it with you and showing you how to make ayam golek just like my Mom would. But before we get into the good stuff, let’s have a look at a few important points in this post like:

Let’s kick things off with the main event: how to make ayam golek!

How To Make Ayam Golek

Ayam Golek

Our low fodmap chicken recipe starts with the chicken, of course. My mother uses a whole chicken (and sometimes a frozen whole chicken Malaysia style) but I find that difficult and the cooking process takes longer.

I use chicken pieces instead. These chicken pieces are rubbed with salt, ground cumin and coriander while we prepare the cumin and spice infused coconut marinade.

Note: we have reintroduced garlic into our diets as we are able to tolerate it and used 3 small cloves in the base. 

The coconut sauce or kuah ayam golek starts with a fragrant spice base. Chop the ginger, lemongrass, and galangal and blend until smooth. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large pot and cook off the aromatic spice paste for 5 minutes. Add the ground cumin and coriander to the spice mix and stir to combine.

After 30 seconds or so, add the coconut cream, followed by water. This mixture needs to cook for 15-20 minutes for it to reduce. Once it looks like this (at the 15-20 mark):

Add your chicken pieces into the pan and let them cook in the liquid for 3-5 minutes. This process allows the chicken to soak up the flavors. The flesh should set slightly, turning from pink to white.

Remove the chicken from the liquid and place them in a baking tray. Cook the sauce for an additional 5 minutes or until the oil separates from the mixture:

The picture on the left is what you started out with and the one on the right. is what you want. to end up with

Now that we’ve covered how to make the main components of this chicken dish, we can now move on to baking and serving this meal.

Baking The Chicken

I should mention that this dish also includes potatoes and boiled eggs. Most of my European family members think the boiled egg is a peculiar addition but it’s tradition and I have a lot of fun eating all the eggs. 

The potatoes are peeled and added to the baking tray with the chicken. The eggs are boiled, peeled and added to the roasting tray whole. Now to put the ‘roast’ in this Malaysian roast chicken recipe by roasting the chicken in a 180c/356f oven for 30 minutes. I mean look at that!

Left: Before | Right: After

It’s ready to serve as is or on top of a bed of fluffy white rice.

How To Prepare Lemongrass

One of the key ingredients for this low fodmap chicken recipe is lemongrass and this is why I’ve included a section dedicated to properly preparing lemongrass.

If you’re not familiar with the ingredients like lemongrass and galangal, or you’re looking for a quick trick to peeling ginger, have a look at this post where we discuss that and more. But back to the matter at hand, lemongrass: the entire thing isn’t edible.

The tops, ends, and outer layers of these fragrant stalks are fibrous and not pleasant to eat. First, start by removing the ends. Peel the first few outer layers and then chop off the tops. Cut your lemongrass into small pieces and set aside.

In the spirit of our, “waste not, want not,” philosophy, we are going to use those inedible outer layers. Place them on top of each other and tie them into a knot. We’ll use this lemongrass knot to add more flavor into the dish as a whole.

Coconuts And FODMAPs

If you’re on a low FODMAP diet, coconut products can be a bit tricky to navigate because some are safe and others aren’t. This dish uses coconut cream, which has not officially been tested by Monash but here’s what they’ve recommended.

Coconut milk and cream are both made from the white flesh of a mature coconut. The flesh is ground with water and presto! You have coconut juice? Not quite. As this coconut juice settles, it begins to separate to a higher-fat content cream and the lower-fat content liquid is coconut milk.

Monash’s recommendations are as follows when it comes to coconut based liquids:

  1. Coconut milk is low FODMAP at 125ml (1/2 cup) serves. They are considered high FODMAP at 250ml (1 cup) serving sizes. 
  2. Canned coconut milk is low FODMAP 1/4 cup servings. Exceed 1/2 cup or more and it will contain moderate to high levels of sorbitol.

This meal serves 5-6 and stays well within the serving size per person. Huzzah! If you’re looking for more, ibs chicken recipes, give these dishes a try:

Low Fodmap Slow Cooker Chicken

Low Fodmap Thai Chicken Noodles

3 Ingredient Low Fodmap Chicken Broth

Grab a cup of tea, plop yourself down someplace comfy and kick your feet up as I tell you the story behind this resepi ayam golek.

The Story Behind Ayam Golek

Ayam Golek

If you search ‘ayam golek’ online, you probably get one or two results and *gasp* no Wiki page. Honestly, all I got were search results for roast chicken KL.

What about golek meaning?

Today, I will be your unofficial translator: ‘ayam’ means chicken and ‘golek’ means different things depending on who you ask. In Kuala Lumpur -the capital city of Malaysia- golek means shake. In Kedah -a northern state- it means something else.

According to my mother, ayam golek is a royal dish in Kedah. ‘Golek‘ in Kedahan slang means to ‘turn.’ Because ovens were not a thing in rural Malaysia, people created makeshift rotisseries outdoor to cook chicken.

A chicken would be skewered through a long sugar cane (used as a rod) and that chicken would be cooked over a charcoal flame. So, if you were wandering, “Why would this chicken be shaking?” there you have it. It’s actually turning on a rotisserie.

After all that, what do you call ayam golek in English? It’s a bit too long to, so you could call it Malaysian roast chicken or Malaysian roast royal rotisserie chicken.

A Special Occasion

Ayam Golek

What is ayam golek? This chicken is reserved for special events only.

Take a wedding for instance: this would be the Main dish but only for the bride and groom. Growing up, we only ate this meal for Eid Al-Fitr or in Malay, ‘Hari Raya’. In the Netherlands, it’s called ‘suiker feest,’ or, ‘sugar fest/party,’ the festivities celebrated after Ramadan (fasting month).

I have only seen this recipe in my household and that of my extended family. Because Malaysians eyeball everything, this recipe differs based on the person that made it. All of my aunts make this very differently. One even makes it with duck instead of chicken!

The Original Recipe

Ayam Golek

This recipe has been adapted and made into a low FODMAP dinner. Something that might just lead to my crucification if my Malaysian relatives ever heard. I can already hear the chorus of, “You can’t make Malaysian food without onion or garlic.”

Yes, you can! The original recipe calls for A LOT of onion and garlic as the base of the spice paste. This variation gives you the same results without any onions or garlic and only uses ginger, galangal, and lemongrass as a base. So, it is my resepi ayam golek simple!

Would you try making this Malaysian bbq chicken?

Ayam Golek
Ayam Golek

I’m happy to share this ayam golek recipe with you because the thought of this dish brings me utter joy. Why not give this recipe a shot for Christmas or if you’re looking for a new roast chicken recipe to spice up your life? And if not, then you’ve walked away from this blog post with a new low fodmap chicken marinade to jazz any chicken dish up.

Have you heard of ayam golek before? What’s a chicken dish you or your family make for special occasions? Share it below in the comments!

More gluten free dinner recipes with chicken:

Low FODMAP Slow Cooker Chicken

Low FODMAP Thai Chicken Noodles

3 Ingredient Low FODMAP Chicken Broth

Traditional Ayam Golek (Malaysian)

Dinner Malaysian
By Yummyble -Aisha Serves: 5-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This recipe can be traced back to Kedah -a region in Malaysia. It's a recipe that is near and dear to us and has been passed down for generations. This version is low fodmap, IBS-friendly, and still tastes exactly like the real thing. It's an aromatic spiced chicken baked in a delicious cumin-infused coconut marinade.


  • 1 chicken whole or butchered (ours weighed 1.9kg)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • For spice paste:
  • 40g ginger (fresh or frozen)
  • 15g galangal (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 stalks lemongrass (fresh or frozen)
  • For marinade:
  • 4 tbsp garlic oil (If you can tolerate it 3 cloves of garlic) *see notes 1
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 550ml coconut cream (not milk)
  • 500ml water
  • salt to taste *see notes 2
  • Optional: peeled potatoes and boiled eggs



Preheat your oven to 180c or 356f.


Mix 1 teaspoon ground cumin and coriander with salt and rub this all over your chicken. Set your chicken aside for now.

For the marinade:


Remove the outer layers of the lemongrass and chop it into small pieces. Reserve the outer layers and tie them into a knot. (For a visual guide, please check the post).


Chop the ginger and galangal too. Add the ginger, galangal, and lemongrass (+garlic if you're using it) in a blender with about 1-2 tablespoons of water to help the mixture blend smoothly.


In a large pot, heat 4 tablespoons of garlic oil on medium-high heat. Add the lemongrass knot and blended mixture. Cook this for 5 minutes or until fragrant.


To the pot, add in 2 teaspoons of ground cumin and coriander. Mix everything together for about 30 seconds. We don't want to burn the spices!


Add the coconut cream and water. Cook this mixture for about 15-20 minutes on medium heat. The liquid should reduce, thicken, and turn a light shade of brown. This can take about 20-25 minutes. You'll know its ready when the oil rises to the top and separates from the sauce.


Add your chicken to the coconut liquid and baste it. Do this for 3-5 minutes. This will allow the chicken to soak up all the flavor from the marinade. The outer flesh should be set and change color.


Place your chicken (potatoes+boiled and peeled eggs if you're using it) in a roasting tray.


Continue to cook the sauce for an additional 5 minutes until it thickens up. You'll know when it's done when the oil begins to separate and rise to the top. At this point, you can season it with salt.


Place this sauce over the chicken and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.


Serve your chicken on a bed of rice or eat as is!


  • We have gone through the elimination phase and have carefully reintroduced garlic into our diets since we don't have a problem tolerating a few cloves.
  • Only season the marinade at the very end once the liquid has reduced and thickened.

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