Ayam Masak Merah

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This chicken in spicy tomato sauce (with a name that directly translates to ‘red-cooked chicken’) is a popular dish in Malaysia, and is a staple dish at many large gatherings or events all year round!

Let's start cooking!

Chicken in tongs being deep fried

Step 1 - Marinate and deep-fry chicken

  • In a bowl, add chicken, 1 Tbsp turmeric powder and 1 tsp salt. Coat chicken well, then set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
  • In a pot half filled with hot oil on medium heat, deep-fry chicken pieces a few at a time, until golden brown. Leave to drain on paper towels.
Chili paste in blender

Step 2 - Blend chili paste

  • In a blender, add onion, shallots, ginger, 1 tsp coriander seeds, galangal and cloves. Blend into a smooth spice paste and set aside. 

A similar dish from Indonesia, ayam bumbu bali, uses almost the same ingredients, but the chicken is grilled instead of fried, along with the addition of sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)

cooking chicken with spice paste and lime leaves

Step 3 - Cook ayam masak merah

  • In a pan on medium heat, add chili paste and fry until fragrant.
  • Add 3 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 Tbsp chili sauce and 120 ml water. Mix well and simmer.
  • Add chicken and lime leaves and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, remove from heat.
This Malay dish is usually made during celebrations such as Hari Raya, or even birthdays!

Let's plate and serve!

Hand with wooden spoon scooping chicken

Serve hot.

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