Ayam Percik

Ayam Percik

Ayam percik is a saucy roasted chicken dish that is popular in Malaysia. It is a speciality from Kelantan. This recipe is too easy and you can never fail especially with the given tips.

0 stars

Preparation 30 mins
Cooking 100 mins


Malay, Malaysian

Nyonya Cooking on Facebook
Nyonya Cooking on Pinterest
Nyonya Cooking on Twitter

Nutrition per Serving

849 kcal
48 g
58 g
40 g

Be the first to take a snap! Log in and navigate to Add Food Snap in the top bar.

Ayam Percik is marinated turmeric chicken coated with a coconut milk sauce filled with a mixture of fresh spices and then grilled. The luscious coconut sauce blankets the chicken and seeps into the meat during the grilling process resulting in a deep and rich flavour.

Originating from Kelantan, ayam percik is a traditional dish and often served along with Nasi Kerabu, a local rice dish that is also from the same state. Sometimes, we have it with Nasi Lemak too.

This Malaysian-styled grilled chicken got its name based on the way it is cooked. The Malay word for chicken is ’ayam’. ‘Percik’ brings the meaning splatter which happens when basting the chicken with the sauce while grilling.

The best ayam percik recipe
The best ayam percik recipe

Why This Recipe?

My recipe is so easy to prepare and uses simple ingredients. I share a few methods to expedite the grilling time which is very helpful for busy cooks. We can do this using a simple pan and the oven.

Most importantly, the sauce is so good that you would want to prepare an extra batch for another dish. I will teach you how to store and use the extra sauce.

Few ingredients but delicious results!
Few ingredients but delicious results!

Wait, Why Is the Gravy Not White?

There is another version whereby the sauce is white instead of red like what we have here. It is known as ’ayam percik kuah putih Kelantan’. This sauce is not spicy at all because chilli paste is not added. It is also sweeter and creamier.

To cook the version with white gravy, omit chilli paste in Step 4 and add one tablespoon of sugar to the sauce.

Is Ayam Percik Spicy?

The red ayam percik is mildly spicy because of the chilli paste in the sauce. We locals call it chilli boh. It is made by grinding dried chillies. If you are unable to handle the spiciness, reduce the heat by adding less chilli paste in Step 4. For the more adventurous eaters, add more chilli paste.

Use fresh chilli paste for best taste
Use fresh chilli paste for best taste

How to Grill Ayam Percik?

The best way is to grill the chicken over hot charcoal for 10 minutes on each side or until the chicken turns brown. Continue basting the sauce on the chicken while grilling and turning it back and forth.

Can I Use the Sauce With Other Meat?

Certainly! The sauce is a great staple for the next BBQ session. Chicken breast may be used for a leaner choice. By the way, I removed the chicken skin to consume less saturated fat. However, it is definitely tastier with the skin on.

Otherwise, opt for beef or even seafood. Grilled fish is mouth-watering when paired with this sauce. However, with seafood, you don’t need to steam it first since it does not take a long time to cook. Skip Step 2 in this case.

Why Is the Sauce Not Thick Or Too Diluted?

Ayam Percik sauce is best when it’s thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Otherwise, the sauce will flow off the meat during grilling or baking. It’s important to note that the consistency of coconut milk does play a role.

If the sauce is taking too long to thicken, a simple trick is to add rice flour or all-purpose flour slurry. Mix an equal amount of flour and water. There should not be any flour chunks. Ensure that the sauce is simmering when the flour slurry is added.

To thin the sauce, add water or more coconut milk.

Time-Saving Tips

Steaming the chicken shorten the cooking time. Therefore, grilling or roasting will not take long. This step also helps to release excess water in the chicken without making it too dry. The chicken will remain succulent and juicy this way.

Ayam percik is always loved during a gathering. When hosting one, I like to make the sauce a day or two in advance. Freeze some sauce to be used later especially for quick meals.

Substitute for Tamarind

As a typical ingredient in the Southeast Asian cuisine, tamarind might be difficult to find. It’s used to add some sweet tanginess to the sauce.

Sometimes, tamarind peel is used instead. It’s more sour, so discard the tamarind peel immediately after turning the heat off.

If both of the ingredients aren’t available, lime or lemon juice is an option. Use 1 tablespoon as a substitute and add more if you like. I prefer the sauce to be slightly sweeter than sour, so go easy on it.


chicken thigh(s)
2 1⁄2 cm
1⁄2 tbsp
turmeric powder
1 tsp
garlic clove(s)
1 1⁄2 tbsp
shrimp paste (dried)
lemongrass (white parts only)
3 tbsp
chilli paste (cili boh)
2 cups
coconut milk
lemongrass stalk(s)
1⁄2 tbsp
3 tbsp
1 tbsp
tamarind paste

Steps to Prepare

Ayam Percik Step 1

Step 1 of 7

    • 4 chicken thigh(s)
    • 2 1⁄2 cm ginger
    • 1⁄2 tbsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, combine grated ginger, salt and turmeric powder. Rub the mixture onto the chicken thighs. Once done, set them aside to marinate.

Ayam Percik Step 2

Step 2 of 7

Steam the marinated chicken thighs for 15 minutes and set them aside.

Ayam Percik Step 3

Step 3 of 7

In a blender, add shallots, garlic cloves, shrimp paste and lemongrass. Blend until it becomes a smooth paste.

Ayam Percik Step 4

Step 4 of 7

    • 3 tbsp chilli paste (cili boh)
    • 2 cup coconut milk

In a pan (oil it if it is not non-stick), cook chilli paste over medium to low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Then, add the blended aromatics and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Stir continuously before adding the coconut milk.

Ayam Percik Step 5

Step 5 of 7

Add bruised lemongrass to the pan. Subsequently, add salt, sugar and tamarind paste. Continue stirring for another 15 minutes over low heat. The sauce should thicken once ready.

Ayam Percik Step 6

Step 6 of 7

Place steamed chicken thighs into the gravy. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken onto a lined baking tray. Meanwhile, continue simmering the sauce for another 5 minutes before turning the heat off.

Ayam Percik Step 7

Step 7 of 7

Bake the chicken thigh for 30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius or until they are browned. Once ready, spoon some of the remaining sauce onto the cooked chicken. Serve with rice.

Published: April 15, 2023

2 Discussions

Edmund Pearson
a year ago

Edmund Pearson

I have another question. In step 5 you say to add bruised lemongrass. Do you remove this afterwards? It would be difficult to eat this as it is only bruised and not blended.

a year ago


That's right. It's just for the fragrance. ;)

Edmund Pearson
a year ago

Edmund Pearson

I like to have chicken legs with crispy skin. How does the skin get crispy with the sauce baked on it?

a year ago


Instead of steaming, try baking the chicken with the skin on and use lesser sauce. However, it would be tough to get fried chicken kind of crispiness since there is liquid (sauce).

Give us your opinion! Log in and start posting.