Taste of Malaysia: Ayam Percik

ayam percik
Ayam Percik

…by Dr. Sharim Karim |

Ayam Percik or Sprinkled Chicken is a grilled or barbeque chicken dish which is sprinkled with a spicy sauce when it is being grilled. This dish is originated in the State of Kelantan in the North East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia.

There are two versions of Ayam Percik sauce, a white one and a yellow/orange coloured one. The major difference is the addition of chilli paste and turmeric that will make the sauce orangey instead of just plain white.

Ayam Percik is rich with coconut milk infused with lemongrass, onions, galangal and spices which make it a unique dish. It is typically served with rice and side dishes. The chicken is marinated in the spices overnight or for several hours. The sauce is prepared separately and the chicken is basted with sauce when it is grilled.

In Malaysia, we typically serve Ayam Percik for lunch and dinner, but also as a snack. It is particularly popular during the fasting month when it is sold throughout the country on those typical street markets we call “Bazaar Ramadhan”. Because the chicken is grilled over charcoal, those markets can get very smoky at times.

The recipe I would like to share with you is just one of many variations. However, there are many different other versions that you could find during the month of Ramadhan.

Please enjoy!


4 pieces chicken breast
25 gm ginger
10 pieces shallots
1 liter coconut milk
20 gm galangal
4 nos lemon grass
½ tbsp sugar
8 tbsp tamarind juice
1 tsp salt ( to taste)


  • Grind the ginger, shallots, garlic, galangal, and lemongrass in a food processor.
  • Make a few slits on the chicken and rub the chicken with some salt and some paste of blended ingredients. Marinade for at least 2 hours.
  • Add the tamarind juice to the coconut milk together with the sugar.
  • Cook the remaining paste together with the coconut milk on a slow fire and stirring constantly until it becomes thick (the sauce can also be thickened with rice flour; mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of rice flour with some water, and add to the sauce, and stir).
  • While the chicken is being grilled, baste the sauce on the chicken to enhance the flavour and continue doing it until the chicken is cooked.
    Serve the chicken with pilaf rice.

Dr Shahrim Karim is a well-known chef in Southeast Asia and a Malaysian heritage food authority & specialist. He has been guest in numerous TV programs such as Masterchef Malaysia and has published various cookbooks as well as more than 70 scientific papers on the importance of food as a cultural heritage. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at the Universiti Putra in Selangor. He can be contacted at shahrimkarim2@gmail.com or Instagram @shahrimkarim


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