Ayam Percik: Spiced Barbecued Chicken

Imagine the scent of smoky, spiced chicken filling the air as it sizzles on the grill, the mouthwatering aroma drawing you closer. The deliciously tender and juicy meat, coated in a rich, fragrant sauce, bursting with flavors that tantalize your taste buds. This is Ayam Percik, a traditional Malaysian dish that perfectly marries the art of barbecuing with the exquisite taste of Southeast Asian spices. A must-try for food lovers and culinary adventurers alike, Ayam Percik is an experience that is sure to leave you craving for more.

Ayam Percik: Spiced Barbecued Chicken


  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Spice Paste

  • 6 dried red chilies, soaked in warm water
  • 8 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled
  • 1 inch galangal, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds

Cooking Steps

  • Blend the spice paste ingredients with a little water in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan, then add the spice paste, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. Sauté over medium heat until fragrant and the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  • Add the coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt to the pan. Stir and let it simmer until the sauce thickens.
  • Marinate the chicken pieces in half of the sauce for at least 1 hour, or overnight for a more intense flavor.
  • Preheat your barbecue grill. Place the marinated chicken on the grill, skin side down. Cook the chicken for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with the remaining sauce, until it is cooked through and the skin is nicely charred.
  • Once cooked, let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your Ayam Percik with steamed rice and a refreshing cucumber salad.

When making Ayam Percik, it’s important to choose fresh ingredients, as they significantly contribute to the overall taste of the dish. Picking the best quality chicken ensures that the meat remains tender and juicy during the grilling process. Additionally, using freshly ground spices rather than pre-made spice blends will give your dish an authentic and vibrant flavor. As you savor each bite of Ayam Percik, appreciate the unique combination of flavors and textures that make this dish a true Malaysian gem.

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