Ayam Pop Padang (Pressure Cooker)

Pressure Cooker Ayam Pop Padang

Course: Entree
Cuisine: Indonesian
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
marinade chicken: 1 hour
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Marv
Chicken pieces are cooked in aromatic spices, seasonings, and coconut water and then briefly pan-fried (or air-fried) are popular chicken dish originated in Padang, West Sumatra. Both pressure cooker and stove-top method included.
Print Recipe


  • 3 lbs Bone-in chicken pieces (drumsticks, thighs)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 800 ml coconut water original flavor and unsweetened
  • 4 Tbsp cooking oil for pan frying


Marinade ingredients:

  • 6 candlenuts or use macadamia nuts
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 5 shallots
  • 1 tbsp salt

Sambal chili:

  • 7 cayenne pepper
  • 3 bird's eye chili
  • 4 shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50 ml chicken broth or water
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil


Marinade the chicken:

  • Rub lemon juice all over the chicken pieces. Let stand for 5 minutes when you prepare other things
  • Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor and process into a paste. Add a bit water to get it going if needed. Pour this mixture over the chicken pieces and rub into them. Cover and let it marinade for at least 1 hour or overnight

Prepare the chili sauce (can be prepared the day before):

  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add cayenne pepper, bird's eye chili, shallots, garlic, and tomato. Cook for about 5 minutes. Discard water
  • Place this in a food processor and process until fine along with sugar, salt, chicken broth/water
  • Preheat a small saucepan with 1 Tbsp cooking oil. Add the chili mixture and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat into a small bowl or glass container. Let it cool down and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week

Cooking the chicken with Instant Pot pressure cooker:

  • Place the chicken pieces in the inner pot of Instant Pot. Pour in the coconut water. Add the aromatics. Close the lid. Turn steam release valve to seal. Press "pressure cooker" and make sure it's on high pressure. Set timer to 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, release pressure immediately
  • Unlock the lid and carefully transfer the chicken pieces out and let them cool down before pan frying them. You can save the stock for other use if you want to (I save it to make chicken noodle soup). Proceed to pan frying

Cooking the chicken on the stove:

  • Place the chicken pieces in a large pot. Pour in the coconut water. Add the aromatics. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to let it gently simmer until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the meat is tender. Add a bit of coconut water if the liquid evaporates before the chicken pieces are cooked through, about 25-30 minutes, depending on how big the chicken pieces are. Proceed to pan frying

Pan frying the chicken pieces:

  • Heat about 4 Tbsp of cooking oil on a pan. When the oil is hot, carefully add the chicken pieces to briefly pan fry them. We won't be frying them until golden brown, but just to give them some light brown color
  • Remove and serve with sambal chili sauce

Air frying the chicken pieces: (if you choose not to pan fry)

  • Lightly brush the chicken pieces with some cooking oil. Place in the air fryer basket, preferably in one layer, so you may need to do this in batches. Set temperature to 375 F and air fry for 8-10 minutes or until you are happy with the color. Remember that they are only supposed to be light golden brown in color