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Malaysian Kelantan Grilled Chicken

Paying homage to his time spent as a child in Malaysia, Adrian shows you how to prepare a succulent dish.


  • Grilled Chicken

  • 3 - 4 chicken marylands (about 1.5 kg) jointed

  • 1-2 tsp. chilli powder

  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric

  • 1 tbsp. caster sugar

  • 1 tsp. white pepper, ground

  • 1 tbsp. salt

  • olive oil

  • Sauce

  • 4 fresh long red chillies, seeded

  • 4 candlenuts/ almonds

  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

  • 3 cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced

  • 3 cm piece of galangal, peeled, thinly sliced

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • 4 stalks of lemongrass, bruised, roughly chopped

  • 1 tbsp. tamarind water

  • 2 kaffir lime leaves

  • 400 ml coconut cream

  • 2 tbsp brown or palm sugar

  • 1 handful of coriander, roughly chopped

  • Coconut Rice

  • 1 cup plain long grain rice, rinsed twice, drained

  • 200ml coconut milk

  • 200ml chicken stock or water

  • 2cm piece of ginger, peeled, bruised

  • 2 pandan leaf, washed, split, tied into a knot

  • 1 kaffir lime leaf

  • ¾ tsp salt

  • Salad

  • 30g freshly grated coconut, or desiccated coconut, dry roasted

  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced

  • ½ cup vietnamese mint, ripped

  • 2 cups water cress (water celery or water parsley)

  • 1 cup coriander, roughly chopped

  • 1 cup snow pea tendrils or bean shoots

  • 1 long red chilli, finely diced

  • 1 slice of dried tamarind, rehydrated in water, thinly sliced

  • juice of 2 limes

  • ½ teaspoon caster sugar

  • olive oil


  • 1.

    Prick the chicken pieces all over with a fork, place in a glass or ceramic bowl and rub with combined oil, chilli powder, ground turmeric, sugar, salt and white and black pepper then cover and refrigerate for 3 hours over night.

  • 2.

    For sauce, process chillies, candlenuts, kaffiir lime leaves, lemongrass, coriander, tamerind water, sugar, coconut cream, garlic, ginger, galangal and onion in a food processor until well combined.

  • 3.

    Transfer the mixture into a saucepan and cook on a medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes stirring occasionally. If sauce becomes too thick, add a little water. Season to taste with sea salt and then cool the sauce to room temperature.

  • 4.

    Grill chicken over BBQ preferably charcoal or roast at 180 – 200C for 25 – 30 minutes (cooking time over charcoal will depend on the heat).

  • 5.

    While the chicken is cooking, add all the ingredients for the coconut rice to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover with a well-fitting lid and turn to a low heat until liquid is absorbed – about 15 minutes. Take off the heat and leave for a further 5 minutes without lifting the lid.

  • 6.

    For the salad, place watercress, Vietnamese mint, coriander, kaffir lime leaf, chilli, bean shoots and tamarind in a bowl. Sprinkle with coconut and sugar. Pour over lime juice and olive oil. Toss gently to combine.

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