In Java, the chicken is usually marinated with the mixture of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and coconut oil, applied with a brush during grilling. The bumbu spices mixture may vary among regions, but usually it consists of combination of ground shallot, garlic, chili pepper, coriander, tamarind juice, candlenut, turmeric, galangal and salt. In Java ayam bakar usually tastes rather sweet because the generous amount of sweet soy sauce either as marination or dipping sauce. While the ayam bakar of Minangkabau (Padang), Bali and Lombok, and most of Sumatra, usually more spicier and reddish in color because the generous amount of chili pepper, turmeric and other spices, and the absent of sweet soy sauce.
The chicken pieces usually partially cooked in spices mixture in small fire prior to grilling, in order for chicken to absorbs the spices. During grilling process the remaining spices is applied upon the chicken. Ayam bakar usually served with sambal terasi (chili with shrimp paste) or sambal kecap (sliced chili and shallot in sweet soy sauce) as dipping sauce or condiment and slices of cucumber and tomato as garnishing.
There are many recipes of ayam bakar, among the popular ones are Padang style ayam bakar, Ayam Percik from Malaysia, ayam bakar Taliwang of Lombok island, Sundanesebakakak hayam, and Javanese ayam bakar bumbu rujak(grilled spicy coconut chicken). Usually, the chicken is marinated with mixture of spices pastes, sometimes kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and then grilled.