Malaysian Food · September 13, 2021

ayam percik feature

Ayam Percik: A Famous Grilled Chicken Dish of Kelantan

Ayam Percik: A Famous Grilled Chicken Dish of Kelantan

Ayam Percik is a famous grilled chicken dish originated from Kelantan, the beautiful Northeastern state of Peninsular Malaysia. “Ayam” means chicken in Bahasa Malaysia, while the “percik” part of the name comes from the action of splashing/basting a special coconut sauce all over the chicken during grilling. The chicken is traditionally grilled over charcoal, giving it a heavy fragrant smell of coconut and wonderful smoky taste.

Today, most Malaysians are familiar with Ayam Percik because the dish has spread throughout the country, with variations to its recipe. There are two main versions: putih (white) and merah (red). The difference is caused by the addition of chilli powder/paste and turmeric to the grilling sauce of the latter. Nowadays it is more common to see Ayam Percik with the red spicy coconut sauce, to cater for Malaysians’ growing love of spicy food.

The star of this dish is the special coconut sauce made from cooking coconut milk with blended aromatics and spices like lemongrass, ginger, shallots, galangal, garlic, tamarind (plus chillies and turmeric for the spicier sauce) etc. The thick, flavourful and creamy coconut sauce is slathered on the chicken during its grilling and during serving too.

Ayam Percik is typically served with rice for lunch or dinner. It can also be served in skewers as a snack. It is particularly popular at food bazaar during the fasting month of Ramadan. The Ramadan bazaar will not be complete without the sweet aroma and smoky atmosphere of the vendors grilling Ayam Percik.