Recipes – Balinese Saté and Ayam Betutu, using Basa Gede – Balinese Sauce. Bali, Indonesia. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Balinese Saté and Ayam Betutu Recipes Using Basa Gede Balinese Sauce

These Balinese saté and ayam betutu recipes make classic barbecued Balinese skewers and a traditional dish of chicken or duck (bebek betutu) that is marinated, wrapped in a banana leaf, and steamed. Both require the basa gede Balinese sauce recipe in the last post.

In my last post from Indonesia’s Hindu island Bali, I gave you a basa gede Balinese sauce recipe that I learnt to make from our Bali villa‘s in-house Balinese cook, Desak. That recipe makes a good sized batch of the delicious – and often fiery – basa gede Balinese sauce, a classic Balinese spice paste.

Learning to cook local food in each place we visit this year is a central part of our Grantourismo project and our mission to learn to live like locals. But I became even more determined to learn about Balinese cuisine after perusing the myriad Indonesian guidebooks here and seeing so little about Indonesian food, even in the Lonely Planet.

My quest to learn to cook Balinese food continues. Now, I’m putting the Balinese sauce basa gede that Desak taught me to make to good use in two Balinese dishes, a Balinese-style saté and ayam betutu, a steamed chicken dish wrapped in banana leaf. Tomorrow I’m going to learn to make the traditional Indonesian rice congee, bubur ayam.

Balinese Saté and Ayam Betutu Recipes Using Basa Gede Balinese Sauce

Balinese Style Saté Recipe

To make the Balinese saté with the basa gede Balinese sauce, you need about 500 grams of a mince of your choosing: you can use seafood (saté lilit), chicken (saté ayam) and pork (saté babi), the most commonly used.

You’ll also need 500 grams of grated coconut for the Balinese saté, which our villa cook, Desak, grates straight from the coconut herself after ‘smoking’ the coconut shell over a burner on the stove before grating.

Desak uses a mortar and pestle to combine some of the sauce with some of the mince and coconut, gradually adding all of the ingredients, to make a paste of it.

To form the Balinese saté a handful of the mixture at a time is then put around the bamboo or lemongrass ‘skewers’. The skewers can be refrigerated until needed.

Traditionally these Balinese saté skewers are grilled over charcoal and coconut to get a great smoky flavour (a job generally tended to by the men who rule the barbecue!), but they can also be cooked in a moderate to high oven.

Ayam Betutu Recipe

For the second dish, ayam betutu, the chicken or duck (bebek betutu) is traditionally marinated, wrapped in a banana leaf, and steamed. The bird is then cooked over coals. An earlier version involves burying the bird, but what we’re after is a more practical version for you to make that doesn’t take hours but still tastes super.

This ayam betutu version is more about the sauce. And while Desak can practically grab a banana leaf out the kitchen window, she says the results can be inconsistent so she prefers to use foil – although I did see an ayam betutu recipe where the bird was wrapped in banana leafs and then wrapped in aluminium foil, something I will try.

When making this ayam betutu recipe, you should wash and dry the chicken before rubbing in the sauce. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to the sauce and place some of the mix in the cavity of the chicken. Rub the rest of the sauce over the chicken and wrap the chicken in aluminium foil.

Leave the chicken for at least an hour before placing it in an oven preheated to 355°F or 180°C. Cooking time depends on the size of the bird, but you’re looking for a temperature of 180°F or 82°C for the bird for it to be cooked correctly.

Serve the ayam betutu on its own or with some steamed rice. It should be one of the most succulent and tastiest chickens you’ve ever eaten in your life. I’m salivating just thinking about it!

Do let us know if you make these Balinese saté and ayam betutu recipes in the comments below. We’d love to hear how they turned out for you. 


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Terence Carter is an editorial food and travel photographer and infrequent travel writer with a love of photographing people, places and plates of food. After living in the Middle East for a dozen years, he settled in South-East Asia a dozen years ago with his wife, travel and food writer and sometime magazine editor Lara Dunston.

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