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The Malay is a breed of chicken originating in Asia, most likely in northern Pakistan. These birds are cousins of Asil. It is unknown why they were called Malay, but perhaps because of a mistake by the former East India Company, when they introduced that exotic new breed around 1570. In Asia, the Malay chicken is usually found only in rural areas and villages. It is sometimes referred to as "kampung" chicken (kampung means "village" in Malay). In the Borneo region of Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei, the Malay chicken is called Sigun. In north West Pakistan these are called Sadalay meaning big docile or gentle giants. The Malay Chicken is sometimes used as fighting cocks in cockfighting.
Today, in the West the Malay is mainly kept for participation in poultry shows by breeders. It is considered a hard-feathered, gamefowl breed. The Malay has an upright stance, a well muscled form and a large skull with a cruel expression. Nowadays they are selected to be better egg-layers than in the 1970s with 70 to 120 eggs annually for a young hen and older hens laying only 30 to 55 eggs.
In Malaysia, kampung chicken is considered a premium by people living in urban areas and costs more in supermarkets and wet markets than conventionally raised broiler chickens, due to its supposedly better flavour.
Malay Chicken is a tougher meat than many other breeds. Because of this, the Malay chicken is often double boiled in herbs or is stewed, and recipes often call for curry, garlic, cumin, turmeric, etc. The Malay carcass may be hung in the kitchen at room temperature for 12 or 24 hours. The meat may also be cubed for soaking in buttermilk, as the milk acid helps to cut the fibrils in the meat.
Cockfighting has long been associated with the Malay, even with the coming of Islam, is still continued in certain parts. Chicken fighting is mentioned in the Hikayat Raja-raja Pasai, written in 1390.
- Courage - The Story of Modern Cockfighting By Tim Pridgen. Books.google.com.my. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
- Malay magic: an introduction to the folklore and popular religion of the ... By Walter William Skeat. Books.google.com.my. Retrieved 2012-12-14.