KOTA BHARU – Unique and creative, best describe Zulkifle Che Abdullah’s (picture) baked chicken, a much sought-after Ramadan dish among customers for the past five years.
According to Zulkifle, 58, he was inspired to explore ways to come up with the perfect recipe after realising that roast or baked chicken has always been a favourite fasting month dish.
“The roast and baked chicken that I used to buy were not to my taste, so I finally decided to come up with my own version of baked chicken.
“The difference is that the whole chickens are not only placed over charcoal but are each covered with a tin to help retain the moisture and flavour of the chicken, “ he told Bernama when met at his stall at Pengkalan Chepa here.
Zulkifle, who is assisted by his two sons at the stall said, the chickens are covered in the ‘oven’ made of tins, for two hours to ensure that they are evenly cooked, adding that 10 tins are used to bake the chickens.
“After marinating the chickens with spices for three hours, they are threaded onto skewers, placed over the heat and covered with the tins.
More heated charcoal are placed around the tins he said, adding that in this way the full flavour of the chicken and the marinade are retained.
“This method of cooking may take a bit more effort but the little effort is totally worth it,” he said.
“Cooking them in the tins with the heat from the charcoal ensures the crispy, caramelised edges, while keeping the chicken juicy on the inside,” he added.
However to ensure that quality is always maintained, Zulkifle and his sons will only prepare 20 birds a day and only freshly slaughtered chickens are used.
Each day 25 kilograms of charcoal are needed to heat the chickens which are sold at RM26 to RM28 a piece, depending on the size, he added.
Although the price of chicken has gone up since the start of Ramadan, he said he has maintained the usual price for his customers.
“The baked chickens are ready for sale from 4pm but to avoid disappointment customers have been advised to place their order a day before,” he said.
A customer, Muhamad Zarith Irshadduiddin Abdul Syahid, 19, said Zulkifle’s specially baked chicken had always been on his wish list for the last two years during Ramadan.
“The chicken is so tender and juicy with a unique taste and you can’t find anything close to it anywhere else,” he said.