In the spirit of Ramadhan, I thought I’d do some local dishes popular during this time. I must confess, I have never had ayam percik before so when I planned to do this dish, I would have no palate reference to say. But trusting my fellow bloggers who are more experienced, I took it on anyway. My only concern was how to get that nice char on top. I was afraid to use my grill pan because the surface would be uneven on the chicken and I was paranoid about overcooking it in the oven. I settled for the grill in my oven, set on full whack but I would keep watch on it like a hawk.
I decided to follow the recipe from Kelly Siew Cooks because it looks simple enough but I big up the portion of the spice paste because I bought two fairly BIG chicken Marylands or thighs. I needed more paste for the marinade to coat the entire two chicken thighs. Plus, I want lots for gravy later and you still need some for basting.
It is quite nice to have a cup of that nice gravy on the side, I don’t know if that’s how ayam percik is served but if you find it needs some kind of sauce, it’s always better to make more on the paste. Admittedly after I cooked everything, there was still a lot of gravy left, so these portions in the recipe could even be enough for 3 chicken thighs.
To go with the chicken and the rice, I made a quick dish of pickled cucumber and carrot ribbons with red onions and chillies. It is a simple mix of 1 part rice vinegar to 1 part water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons sugar. If you like it more crunchy, do it like an hour before serving. If you prefer it softer, do it 3 hours before.
- 2 chicken thighs Maryland
- 3 cardamons
- 3 cloves
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 150 ml water
- 100 ml coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste dissolved with
- some water remove seeds
- White Pepper
- Salt to taste
- Lime wedges optional
- Coriander for garnish
- 6 cloves garlic
- 6 shallots
- 1 1/2 thumb-sized ginger
- 2 fresh chillies seeds removed
- 5 dried chillies soaked, seeds removed
- 3 stalks lemongrass the ends only
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- A bunch of spring onion stalks optional, I just had them lying around and tossed it in the mix
- 200 ml coconut milk
- Prep all ingredients for spice paste and blend with coconut milk.
- Place chicken in a large zip lock bag, pour in the blended paste, rub it all over the chicken and leave it to marinade overnight or for at least 2 hours.
- Heat a large wok and tip the chicken with marinade and all into the wok. Add water, cardamon pods, cloves and lemongrass-smashed at the root.
- Let it come to a simmer in medium heat. When the gravy starts to 'spit', cover with lid and let it simmer for half-hour, turning it to the other side every 10 mins.
- Before the last 10 mins, add the 100 ml coconut milk and tamarind. Taste and add white pepper and salt (if needed).
- Close lid and let it simmer again. This time, turn on your oven to full, 250C with the top grill on.
- Pick up the chicken with tongs carefully, place it on a tray with a roasting rack. Put aluminum foil underneath the rack to catch the drippings.
- Pour more of the gravy on top of the chicken to coat it. Grill it for about 3-4 minutes on top side and 2-3 mins on bottom. Don't take your eyes of it, it could easily burn.
- As soon as you get a nice char, take it out of the oven.
- Serve with cooked rice, some pickled vegetables and lime wedges on the side.
- Spoon the gravy onto a bowl if you want extra gravy.