Ayam Percik (Barbecued Spiced Chicken) Recipe by Diana Chan

Ayam Percik (Barbecued Spiced Chicken) by Diana Chan

Ayam Percik is a spice grilled marinated chicken basted with a rich coconut gravy originating in the Northern state of Kelantan, Malaysia. If you love grilled chicken with lots of flavour, then you’ll definitely love this dish. The aroma you get whilst the chicken grills will make you very hungry. It’s a definite crowd pleaser.

I was inspired to make this dish from a memory I had growing up. Both my parents worked and sometimes would allow us to get takeaway. One of them was from a Malaysian fast food outlet called ‘Ayamas’. They made this succulent chicken with a delicious roasted flavour and a mix of spices. I didn’t know what went into it then but it was always finger licking good. All I knew was that my mom called it Ayam Percik. Basically, I learned how to make it and knew the ingredients that went into the basting. Since moving to Australia, I’ve had my fair dose of cravings for all things Malaysian and this dish is definitely one of them.

Ayam Percik is great for when you have lots of friends over. Cook it over the grill, charcoal or even a BBQ. I like serving it with rice and something fresh like a green mango salad otherwise known as kerabu. Alternatively, since the flavours are pretty versatile, you can serve it with roasted vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini or capsicum, or whip together a quick and simple salad like a slaw or just some lettuce leaves.

This dish isn’t difficult to prepare. The hardest part is the waiting time while marinating. If you have time, prepare the paste and marinade the chicken overnight for optimum flavour. I used a whole chicken here, but feel free to use marylands, thighs or drumsticks to save yourself some time on chopping.



  • 1 whole free-range chicken, butterflied and chopped into smaller pieces
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 4 lemongrass stalks from spice paste (see below), tops only & bruised
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander powder
Spice paste
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, white part only
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5 shallots
  • 3 long red chillies
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 5 candlenuts or macadamia nuts



  1. First, mix the marinade, combine with chicken and then set aside for 1 hour.
  2. Chop the spice paste ingredients next and then blend them finely.
  3. Heat oil in a frying-pan and fry the spice paste, tamarind and lemongrass for 5 minutes.
  4. Add water and cook for another 3 minutes.
  5. Put in coconut milk, sugar and salt and then let it simmer over a medium fire for 5 minutes.
  6. Barbecue the ayam percik chicken over a low charcoal fire or under a grill, basting frequently with the gravy, until the chicken is cooked. This should take approximately 20-25 mins on the barbeque. Alternatively, roast in the oven for 30 mins at 180°C.

Serving Suggestion: serve with salad, roti, rice or cucumber slices.


Check out the links below for more of Diana Chan’s recipes, or read here interview here.

Baby Octopus Sambal
Chicken Varuval
Flourless Lemon Yogurt Cake
Red Emperor Assam Pedas

Diana Chan

Guest Chef

Diana Chan is a Malaysian-born Australian chartered accountant and celebrity cook. She is the winner of MasterChef Australia for 2017 and currently works with children through food education via the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program. Diana loved cooking from a very young age and she learnt a lot through both her parents, but it was only when she moved to Melbourne that her interest grew as she discovered the farmers’ markets that supplied plenty of fresh and local produce from around Australia. She developed her own cooking style, which combined some of the hallmarks of her parents’ styles - her mother’s fresh, herb-driven approach and her father’s love of seafood. Diana believes in creating wholesome, balanced and delicious meals incorporating fusion flavours and her future plans of opening her food concept is deep in the planning stages.

Love Malaysian food and culture? Find Malaysian recipes and stories on culture here in the Butterkicap community. Join us.

Sign up for Butterkicap

Tweet us 

Show the world just how amazing Malaysian food is.

Hashtag us at #butterkicap

Please check your feed, the data was entered incorrectly.