Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I defied myself and cooked a chicken breast. I marinated it overnight to let the flavours in and to moisten it. Then I smeared it with the basting paste. Then I seared it in an iron hot pan to keep  the juices in. Then I roasted it in the oven just to let it cook through without it turning dry. Then I broiled it to get it charred in places. Success. 

It came out as moist, as tender and as delicious as a baby's bottom. I was as pleased as punch. Like a new mommy of her newborn babe. 

Chicken breasts aren't bad after all. It's all in the handling. Like children. Some love, some trust and lots of patience and you will be rewarded with more than you bargained for. If only I had known I would have had more chicken breasts. It takes resolve and desire. And a blog.

As they say ...... better late than never. And stubbornness is stupid.

The recipe ~

I had searched through many ayam percik (a very popular Malaysian chicken roast) recipes and found many ways in which to prepare the chicken for the grill. But the ingredients were more or less similar. (I added fish sauce though). So I went ahead and created a slightly different method of preparation. While doing so I thought I heard...the chicken crying out for herbs. Ho yes.

So I relented and chopped a tumeric leaf very finely (it being rather fibrous) and added it into the marinade and basting paste. That did it. The chicken had a fragrance and a flavour which it wouldn't have had otherwise.

The good news is I believe any other herb would do the job just as well. Thyme, coriander, lime leaves to name just a few. Different herbs different delights.

I have to tell you that this recipe makes more than enough basting paste. You could keep the extra to baste another day. 

2 chicken breasts, skin left on

Basting paste and marinade :

3 medium onions
3 garlic
1 inch ginger, peeled and sliced
1 lemon grass, sliced thinly
2 red chillies, chunked

1-2 T chopped tumeric leaf
 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 -2 T fish sauce
1 T tamarind pulp mixed with 1/4 cup water and juice and strained
1 cup thick coconut milk or cream

cooking oil

Grind onions, ginger, garlic, chillies and lemon grass in a small food processor until fine. Or pound in a pestle annd mortar.
Add the chopped tumeric leaf or any herb that you are using to the processed paste. 

Use about 2-3 tablespoons of this raw paste to marinate the chicken, add a couple of splashes of fish sauce and maybe a tablespoon of oil to keep the chicken moist. Rub the marinade over the chicken evenly. There is no need for salt as the fish sauce is salty. Place the marinated chicken breasts in a plastic bag and marinate overnight or for a couple of hours. 

Meanwhile heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a small pot and saute the raw paste for about a minute, stirring so that it won't stick too much. Add coconut cream and tamarind juice. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the fish sauce and sugar. Stir and bring it to a simmer and simmer until the sauce reduces to a thickish paste. Add salt to taste. Once done keep aside.

Preheat oven to 190 C. Prepare chicken breast smearing the cooked paste over the top of the breasts evenly (not too thickly).

Heat a thick bottomed pan and then pour in about 2 tablespoons of oil into it. When hot sear the chicken skin side down first. When golden turn over to sear the other side. This takes probably about a minute on each side.

Then place the seared chicken breasts on the rack of a roasting pan. Baste the chicken with more cooked paste on top, this time a little generously and roast in the oven for about 15-17 minutes. For the last 2 or 3 minutes turn on the broiler and broil until the top of the chicken gets slightly charred on the top. 

The chicken should be done when you press it and it doesn't give way. It's important not to over bake the chicken otherwise you will get dry chicken breasts which I so do not like. And you will not too.

Pour the juices collected at the bottom of the pan over the chicken. Then slice and serve with white rice like I always do. 

I have submited this to MMM ~ Malaysian Muhibbah Monday on Test With Skewer by Shaz


3 hungry tummies said...

What beautiful shots they are...this is a must try!

Unknown said...

Hey Zurin,

Wow..beautiful dishes with chicken one after another...:)



busygran said...

Sedap! Delicious! Lip-smacking! What more can I say!

Karen | Citrus and Candy said...

Oh. My. I think I just died and gone to heaven. Chicken heaven.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Moist and tender as a baby's bottom! That's really hard to resist!

Ravenous Rowie said...

That looks delicious! Always nice finding new ways to prepare chicken! I love your photographs too, you have so much talent!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

your version of ayam percik sound so delicious! well done.

Deeba PAB said...

Can't imagine just how 'like a baby's bottom' good this must have been. You tempt me so. Love the way you did it. Mmmmm A-YUM Chicken. Love it Zurin, I do!

La Table De Nana said...

I had never heard of this dish.. The flavors sound wonderful Zurin.

ICook4Fun said...

Zurin, my stomach is making a lot of noise now just looking at your ayam percik. They look delicious!!!

pam said...

Gorgeous!! I want my chicken to look like that!

Mary Bergfeld said...

This is really lovely and mouth-watering. You always have such nice food and recipes to share with us. This one looks especially delicious, Zurin. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Chef Bee said...

This would be a homerun at my house. My kids love chicken and could eat it everyday. I will try this to surprise them from the ordinary.

Plan B

tinyskillet said...

They are stunning...looking moist and tasty...full of flavor1

Anonymous said...

Just from those photos I can tell that chicken was most and oh-so-flavorful. Love the taste combinations!



Elin Chia said...

Zurin...I am hungry just looking at that beautifully grilled and charred breast :) I agree totally with you for I handle too many chicken breasts. Josh only eats breasts :p they can be tender and moist if handle with lots of love and patience :) Thanks for another winner. Selamat Hari Raya Haji to you and family :)

elpi said...

I think I am hungry gosh! I like chicken especially the skin YUM!!

Çitra's Home Diary said...

Just look at this picture.. I'm drooling ... Just loveee it ! Nice job.

Joyti said...

Wow, this looks so good! I love all the flavors.
(and the tart below sounds amazing as well).

Elin Chia said...

Hi Zurin...I have tried out your Smoked Salmon And Dill Tarts...Sorry ,I didn't do you justice but it tasted great. Jo loves it and I am going to make again :) Thanks for sharing the recipe with us :) I am going to perfect the pastry, baked it longer so that it will be brown and crispy like yours :) I have posted it and linked you on my the other dessert blog


Linda said...

Oh girl this looks spectacular!
Seeing this has made me very hungry...and it is almost 1:30am!

Cherine said...

Looks so good! Love the flavors!

Cathy said...

I avoid cooking chicken breasts because they are so often dry and flavorless, but you have solved those problems, Zurin. Your chicken looks perfectly cooked and full of wonderful flavors.

Za said...

Salam Zurin,

I saw your comment on redneck's blog and decide to check out your Fried Kway teow. Instead I've been through the chicken and the tarts and cookies! Awesome blog!

Unknown said...

Completely gorgeous chicken! Yes please!

Federica Simoni said...

la foto è talmente bella che mi mangerei lo schermo!!!

shaz said...

Thank you for a great MM contribution Zurin. I love ayam percik but always thought it was too hard to make at home. Must give this method a try.

Cheah said...

This is so mouth-watering! Would be great with white rice. But looks like a lot of hardwork and determination to have such fantastic result!

oak dining room table said...

This is really nice and delicious. I can make something like this for Christmas! This is really beautiful.


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