Malaysian Pickled Chicken

Malaysian cuisine is highly varied and exotic due to the culinary influences of the different ethnic groups like Indians, Malay and Chinese. Malaysian pickled chicken is an amalgamation of both Chinese and Indian flavours with the generous use of spices along with vinegar for the tart pickling effect. Reminds me of our very own vindaloo which uses a similar set of ingredients.

Malaysian pickled chicken is usually served with roti jala – traditional flat net-shaped bread. I did try to make it but the result was a disaster – it came out nothing like it was supposed to and I ended up with something like chappathis. Anyway, that is an experiment to be perfected later. But the chicken was a roaring success – all of us loved it!

The aroma and flavours of the fragrant whole spices, lemon grass and the aromatics is taken a notch higher up with the addition of vinegar. A dish you definitely have to try!


Recipe Courtesy – Gourmet Traveller


1. Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
2. Cloves – 4
3. Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
4. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
5. Nutmeg – 1 tsp, finely grated
6. Cardamom pods – from 4 cardamoms
7. Cinnamon bark – ½ inch
8. Chicken (on the bone) – 1 kg
9. Dry red chilli – 8
10. Shallots – 10, thinly sliced
11. Ginger – 1 tsp, grated
12. Garlic cloves – 4, grated
13. Lemon grass stalk (white part only) – 2, finely chopped
14. Ghee – 2 tbsp
15. White vinegar – ½ cup
16. Sugar – 1 tsp
17. Mint leaves – for garnish
18. Coriander leaves – for garnish


• Dry roast the whole spices, cool and grind with the powdered spices (except dry red chilli) in a grinder/mortar and pestle.
• Marinate the chicken pieces with the spice mixture and salt; leave for at least 30 minutes. (It is not necessary to use the entire spice mixture, use according to taste and spice preference)
• Soak the dry red chillies in water for 30 minutes. Squeeze excess water and process along with shallots, ginger, garlic and lemon grass to get a coarse paste.
• Heat ghee in a deep pan, add the aromatics paste and stir-fry on medium heat to remove rawness. Add the marinated chicken pieces and brown.
• Then add enough water for gravy, vinegar, sugar and salt to taste. Cook till the chicken pieces are tender.



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