For free-range chicken cooked in various styles, Ewe Paik Leong heads to a farm in Kuang, Selangor
“ANY bad smell?“ asks Uncle Rani as he inhales deeply.
I give my head a gentle shake, impressed that the chicken droppings don‘t stink. All around us are vegetable plots, fruit trees and serenity.
“The surface is covered with duck weed, which is used as part of the feed, together with rice kernels, fishmeal and minced vegetables,“ says Rani who is standing beside me on the grassy edge of a pond.
We traipse over grassy grounds to one of several wire enclosures. Inside are zinc-roofed barns with netting and shady trees here and there, under which dozens of chickens are resting. I am on a tour of Uncle Rani Chicken Farm near Kuang, Selangor.
The salt and pepper-haired Rani tells us the health benefits of free-range organic chickens and how, one morning, his workers caught a big snake with a bulging stomach and released it into the jungle.
It is quite a journey from Kuala Lumpur. Travelling in an MPV driven by my host, Lee Seng Fatt, the drive from KL takes us to Sungai Buloh, Bukit Rahman Putra and then to Lorong Mat Master, and eventually to the farm.
The last stretch of the journey is along a gravel track past thick foliage leading to an open gate with a cartoon chicken sign hanging from a side post.
Our dishes are quickly served as Lee pre-ordered them. On one plate, pieces of spiced chicken have a coppery sheen after being marinated and deep-fried.
An initial crunch gives way to not moist meat but fine threads of textured meat that almost disintegrate, with hints of earthy, sweet notes of turmeric and the zest of lemongrass.
The salted fried chicken is a simple dish prepared by giving the bird a good rub with salt.
The skin of the organic chicken is more yellow than that of broiler chicken, and is one way to distinguish between them. The meat is light, crispy and bold in flavour and the salt gives an invigorating jolt.
After two chicken dishes, I try sauteed brinjals and okras. The slimy okras have a murmur of chilli heat, and the brinjals a mild burst of acidity. This marriage of okras and brinjals is doomed from the start.
Kembung assam pedas arrives in a plate loaded with several fish, okras and tomatoes. The broth is flavoured with lemongrass and ginger flower. The flavours come in layers, almost making my taste buds hum a happy tune!
Steamed chicken is presented in its own juices, garnished with parsley and ginger slices. The meat is softer compared with the fried version, with a hint of bite that ends with a lick of ginger.
The last dish, roast chicken, truly shows the quality of texture and flavour of organic chicken as it is roasted without any marinade.
Uncle Rani Chicken Farm (halal)
WHERE Lot 1280, Lorong Dato Abu Bakar, Kg. Gombak, Batu 20, Kuang, Selangor
TEL 016-227 7011 or 016-410 0856
HOURS 11am to 7pm daily except Monday. For weekends, booking one or two weeks ahead is recommended
FOOD Free-range chicken cooked in various styles
PICK All chicken dishes
PAY From RM15 to RM80 per dish depending on size
MOOD Serene and rustic atmosphere
SERVICE Friendly and engaging
I SAY Must try