Ayam Golek is a very popular dish in Kelantan and Terengganu. This spicy fragrant chicken is very easily found in food stalls and restaurants in the East Coast states. It is also very much available throughout Malaysia especially during the fasting month. The word "Golek" means to roll or rotate. I guess it refers to the way the chicken pieces are grilled rotisserie style. As far as I am concerned, the "Golek" is more likely to refer to someone rolling on the floor in ecstasy after tasting this grilled chicken. This dish can be eaten with plain rice or better still Nasi Minyak.
It is not a difficult dish to prepare. This is how I did it :
I cooked 5 chicken legs and the spice ingredients are as follows :
1. 15 shallots (I could not get shallots so I substituted with 5 big onions)
2. 5 dried chillies soaked to soften (you can put up to 10 dried chillies or more if you like more spicy)
3. 6 cloves of garlic
4. 7 candlenuts (buah keras)
5. 1 inch ginger, 1 inch tumeric and 1/2 inch galangal (lengkuas)
6. 1 teaspoon of ground cumin (jintan putih)
7. 2 teaspoons of ground fennel (jintan manis)
|Onions, garlic, tumeric, ginger, galangal, dried chillies and candlenuts.|
In the old days, these ingredients would have been pounded using a mortar and pestle. As I understand it, pounded ingredients produce better aroma. But well, to save time (OK, OK, I don't have the energy), just plonk all your ingredients into the blender and within a minute, you have your spice paste (rempah).
|Plonk everything into the blender.|
|Spice paste, so fast and easy except for the washing up part.|
Pour into a bowl and add ground cumin, fennel and stir (you could put these together in the blender which I forgot). When it comes to spice paste, always err on the generous side. You want more rempah to coat your chicken and extras to baste. Besides, it tastes great with your rice. I often find my guests digging for the spicy gravy.
|Add ground cumin and fennel into spice paste and stir to mix.|
You also need :
1. 4 kafir lime leaves (daun limau purut)
2. 3 stalks of lemongrass (serai), bruised
3. 1 packet of coconut milk (santan). Use neat, don't mix with water. Your chicken will bleed water during the cooking process and you don't want diluted gravy.
|Lemongrass, kafir lime leaves and santan.|
Heat your pan and add a generous amount of oil. When you saute (tumis) your spice paste, don't be stingy with the oil or be paranoid about your rempah becoming too oily. This is not the time to think about your health. You need the oil to properly saute your rempah to get good results. Use medium heat and pour in your spice paste together with the lemongrass.
Saute for about 15 minutes or so until aromatic and oil rises to the top (pecah minyak). Honestly, I have not experienced this phenomenon, even though I used enough oil and sauteed until aromatic. But this has not affected the taste and the oil does rise when the dish is completely cooked. Remember, the paste will taste bitter if not properly cooked through, so if you are not sure if you have sauteed enough, taste it. If it is already aromatic and not bitter, you have arrived.
|Saute spice paste with lemongrass until aromatic and oil rises to the top. Or until the spice paste is not bitter.|
Next, put in your chicken and stir to ensure chicken is coated with the paste. Then add kafir lime leaves, salt (I used fish sauce instead) and santan. You could lower the flame and simmer the chicken in the pan but I transferred to a pot. Cover and simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked and the gravy is thick. Stir every now and then to ensure that the gravy doesn't get burned.
|I transferred to a pot to simmer as I find this more convenient.|
When the chicken is done, you can transfer to the oven immediately and grill at 200C for about 30 to 40 mins or until the the gravy becomes thicker and the chicken slightly brown. Baste the chicken with the gravy every 15 minutes. I was cooking one day ahead, so I cooled the dish and kept it in the refrigerator. This dish actually tastes better the following day.
|Chicken legs after cooking but before grilling.|
The next day, I took it out of the fridge and let stand to room temperature before grilling in the oven.
|Arrange on baking tray lined with aluminium foil (to make cleaning easy) and spoon gravy onto the chicken pieces.|
|After about 40 minutes this is what it looks like. Gravy is thicker and chicken slightly browned around the edges.|
|Arrange chicken on platter and pour the extra gravy onto the chicken before serving. You and your guests will be fighting for the gravy to mix with the rice.|
Serve this with either plain rice or Nasi Minyak and a simple acar made with cucumbers, onion and pineapple. And if you are like me, don't forget the sambal belacan.
|Ayam Golek served with Nasi Hujan Panas. Not only will you Golek, you will also Gelek after eating this.|