This beautifully seasoned Malay style roast chicken is a very popular local delicacy from the state of Kelantan. Sold at roadside stalls all over the region, this dish is especially popular during the fasting month of Ramadhan. Normally, each marinated chicken leg is clipped with a pair of homemade bamboo tongs, which helps keep the meat from shrinking during the cooking process and instead of basting, the meat is actually dipped into the sauce and cooked over hot charcoals. Tinged with spice, the chicken is very fragrant and has as a slight sweetness.
3 large (around 1.1kg) chicken whole legs, washed, drained, scored 2 slits diagonally and marinated with some salt
10 dried chillies, washed, soaked and cut into 4cm lengths
12 stalks bird’s eye chillies
1 clove garlic
20g fresh turmeric, skinned or 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon shrimp paste (belachan)
250ml thick coconut milk
1 piece tamarind (assam keeping) peel
6 biji halba (fenugreek)
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1. Marinate chicken with some salt and set aside.
2. Using an electric blender, finely grind spice paste.
3. Pour spice paste into a medium sized wok or pan with coconut milk, tamarind, fenugreek, salt and sugar.
4. Over medium heat, cook spice paste for around 8 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent sauce from burning. Add chicken and cook for another 10-15 minutes, remove.
5. Preheat oven at 220ْC. Place marinated chicken onto a greased tray , pour sauce over and grill for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Alternatively, grill over charcoal fire, turning over until cooked.
6. Serve immediately with some plain rice or bread.
With more than 10 years experience in the food industry, Debbie is a true-bred Nyonya who hails from Malacca. She is the author of numerous cookbooks, including “UNDERWRAPS” by Marshall Cavendish Cuisine and “Penang Food Guide & Cookbook” and “Nyonya Flavours” by Star Publications. Debbie develops and tests recipes for companies, and contributes to magazines. She is also a Nyonya food consultant for Tourism Malaysia.