As promised, I’m back with a recipe. And this one is a doozy, featuring one of the most versatile protein, chicken. Specifically, the thighs (well, legs). The breast lovers can divert your attention now (or make the substitution if you want). There must be over a hundred way to cook Chicken thighs, even in Malaysia alone. Even a simple barbecued Chicken dish “Ayam Percik” comes with several regional variations. As this is the Kelantan month for Malaysian Food Fest (hosted by mykitchensnippets), of course I’ve gone with a Kelantan recipe.
The State of Kelantan is located on the North East coast of Peninsula Malaysia. The dishes in Kelantan tend to be on the sweet side (I wonder if the incidence of diabetes is the highest in this state?) and even the savoury dishes contains a good dose of sugar. Coconut milk usage is high too, so their curries tend to be on the rich side as well. The dish I’ve cooked this time, “Ayam Percik Kelantan” looks a little paler comparing to the regional cousins which are usually blessed with a touch of turmeric and you guessed it, contains sugar and plenty of coconut milk.
Percik in Malay means sprinkle or drizzle, and this refers to the way the gravy is poured onto the chicken several times during the cooking process. As the gravy consists of coconut milk infused with various spices, what you get as an end result are pieces of the most aromatic, and succulent chicken with caramelised edges of the gravy. Just divine. Splash a little more thickened gravy over (enough to mix in the rice too) and you have yourself a very satisfying meal.
I’ve consulted Dr Google for the recipe and there are quite a few out there with different combination of spices. In the end, I decided to go with Lemongrass, Cardamom and Cloves as the main spices along with the usual onion, garlic, ginger and chili mixture. The cooking method also varies but I’ve referred closely to Kuali.com with minor adaptations. And of course, I do not have a charcoal barbeque so I’ve entrusted my oven for this job. As I cooked for one, I only used 2 Chicken thighs. Feel free to adjust the recipe to your need.
Ayam Percik Kelantan (Recipe adapted from Kuali.com)
2 Chicken Maryland (Thighs + Drumsticks)
200ml Coconut Milk
1 stalk Lemongrass, bruised
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon potato starch mixed with water(or any thickening agent you prefer)
3 cloves Garlic
1 thumb sized Ginger
3-4 Dried Chili, soaked and drained
1/2 cup Water
1 stalk Lemongrass
Put garlic, shallots, ginger, lemongrass and dried chili in blender and blend with a little water until fine. Marinate chicken thighs in this paste for at least 1/2 hour.
Transfer everything into a pot and pour half the coconut milk over it. Add cardamom, cloves and lemongrass and cook over medium heat until chicken is partly cooked, about 20 minutes. Season with tamarind paste, salt and sugar halfway through.
Take the chicken out of the pot, reserving the coconut milk mixture in the pot. Place the chicken on baking tray and cook under the oven grill (broiler) at medium heat for 7-8 minutes.
Discard the cardamom and cloves from the gravy. Add the rest of coconut milk and the potato starch mix and simmer until thick. Taste for seasoning.
Coat the chicken with extra sauce and continue to grill, repeating if necessary until chicken is golden brown and cooked well. When serving, ladle the delicious gravy over the chicken or you can also serve it separately. For me, the more the merrier! I served mine with some brown rice cooked with pandan leaves.
I will not deny that I’ve ladled extra gravy over the rice after taking the photos. I absolutely loved this. The combination of spices and the rich coconut gravy made the apartment smell incredible and of course totally won over my taste buds. The level of sweetness was just enough to complement the coconut milk. If I were to make this next time I will throw in some fresh chili as well for extra kick. The spice level is on the mild side for me, but definitely stronger for people like your typical Ang Moh (yes I’m looking at you Frank). He doesn’t eat chicken by the way, more for me.
What is your favourite chicken recipe?
I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Kelantan Month hosted by Gertrude of My Kitchen Snippets