I've another amazing guest post for you today, from my friend Jane of Wayward Oven! I met Jane through Sourdough Surprises and always LOVE her food and photography - she cooks up some awesome stuff, and I love how everything is just a bit different than your traditional "American Fare". I hope you enjoy this post and check our her blog, too! You won't be dissapointed! :)
Apa khabar, everyone! That greeting in Malay translates as "what news", which is my way of asking how you are and saying hello from Malaysia.
I'm Jane and I write The Wayward Oven blog. I "met" Jenni in the wonderful Sourdough Surprises group, and have had many interesting adventures since I joined. So when she invited me to guest post on The Gingered Whisk, I was happy to do it. I hope you're doing well during this time, Jenni, and I wish you and your family all the best!
Malaysia is arguably one of the most gastronomically diverse countries in Southeast Asia. Because of our multi-racial population, history (colonialism and trade) and location, our food is characterised by influences from the many communities within the country as well as foreign sources.
Then, there are also the culinary differences between regions within the country. For my recipe, I've chosen Ayam Percik, a grilled chicken from the northeastern state of Kelantan in the Malaysian peninsula. They like their food with less heat and slightly sweeter over there.
Unlike a lot of BBQ where the meat is marinated and grilled raw, this chicken is partly cooked in the marinade before grilling. Ayam (pronounced ah-yum) is chicken in Malay, and percik (per-cheek) means splatter or splash, which refers to how the chicken is basted while it grills - the marinade is "splashed" on with a couple of bruised lemongrass stalks tied together. The marinade is then cooked down into a thick sauce to serve with the chicken.
The dish is made up of typical Asian ingredients such as coconut and tamarind paste. A common ingredient that we use a lot in cooking is belacan (be-la-chan) or Malaysian dried shrimp paste. It's pungent - some may say stinky! - and gives dishes a rich umami flavour. There's no real substitute for it but I think what might work is anchovy paste.
Ayam Percik (Kelantan-style grilled chicken)
4 whole chicken legs (use skinless chicken if desired)
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp ground turmeric
¾ tsp salt
6-8 dried chillies, soaked in hot water to soften
8 shallots, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ tsp belacan (dried shrimp paste; or ½ tsp anchovy paste)
250ml (1 cup) coconut cream
1 TBSP tamarind paste
6 fenugreek seeds
¾ tsp salt
1-2 tsp sugar (preferably palm sugar)
1 tsp rice flour or corn starch
Clean the chicken, pat dry and make a few slits in the thigh. Combine the ginger, turmeric and salt and rub over the chicken. Cover and set aside while you prepare the marinade.
For the marinade, grind/blend the chillies, shallots, garlic and shrimp paste with a little coconut cream. Place this mixture in a pot large enough to hold the chicken together with the remaining coconut cream and the other marinade ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the marinade thickens and the oil separates from it (a layer of oil will appear on the surface; this is the coconut oil), about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add the chicken pieces to the pot and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently for 20 minutes. (The chicken should be basically cooked by the end.)
Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill over hot charcoal or under the oven broiler for 8 to 10 minutes on each side until the chicken is browned, basting it several times with the marinade.
Simmer any remaining marinade over low heat in the pot until it thickens. Serve the chicken with rice, pickled cucumber and the sauce.