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How to Make Ayam Percik (Malaysian Roasted Spiced Chicken)

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Originally from Malaysia, Liza currently lives in the U.S. with her husband. She loves cooking, baking, photography, and traveling.

Ayam percik served with white steamed rice.

Ayam percik served with white steamed rice.

What Is Ayam Percik?

Ayam percik, or roasted spiced chicken, is a grilled chicken dish that is cooked with rich coconut gravy. It originated in the northern Malaysian state of Kelantan. If you love grilled chicken with lots of flavors, then you will definitely love this dish. The aromas that waft through the kitchen as the chicken grills are wonderful!

Core Ingredients

I remember buying ayam percik at the local night market in my hometown during the month of Ramadan. Traditionally, Malay dishes use a variety of spices and local ingredients. The core of this dish is the paste that is made from flavorful spices like fresh turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, dried chilies, coconut milk, and tamarind paste. You can buy these ingredients at the local Asian store near you.

Cooking Tips

Since I had never made this dish for my husband, I thought it would be nice for him to try something new. I decided to use a cast iron pan rather than a skillet because I was cooking chicken drumsticks. However, you are welcome to use any chicken parts you have.

It's important to prepare the paste ahead of time and allow the chicken to marinate for a few hours. This ensures that all of the spices will infuse inside the chicken.

In terms of cooking, you can choose to grill over the stove or use a barbeque grill. You may double the recipe if you'd like to serve more people. Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

This dish is perfect for dinner with your family. I hope they enjoy it as much as we do!


For the marinade:

  • 4 drumsticks (you can choose any chicken parts)
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 4 shallots
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup diluted coconut milk
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and crushed
  • 3 shallots
  • 4 dried chilies (add more if you want spicier)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • Water

For serving:

  • Steamed basmati rice


  1. Marinate the chicken: In a blender, combine the garlic, shallots, red onion, turmeric, salt, and water. Blend it until it forms a paste. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and the paste. Use your hand to incorporate the paste with the chicken. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let the chicken sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours (the longer it marinates, the better it gets).
  2. Make a paste for the gravy: In a blender, combine the dried chilies, shallots, and some water. Blend until makes a paste. Set aside.
  3. Heat the cast iron pan with some oil over medium heat. Cook the chicken drumsticks until they are browned on both sides.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the sauce: In a medium pan, heat some vegetable oil over moderately high heat. Saute the paste for a few minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the coconut milk, sugar, tamarind paste, lemongrass, and a little bit of water. Bring the sauce to boil. Lower the heat.
  5. Use a spatula to pour the sauce onto the chicken and coat the chicken evenly with the sauce.
  6. Take the pan and broil for about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the broiler and place the chicken onto a serving plate.
  8. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.

© 2018 Liza