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Ayam Masak Merah (Chicken in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Ayam Masak Merah


Ayam Masak Merah Recipe

Serve 8-10


2 x 0.9-1kg chicken, cut into 8 pieces/chicken
20 dried chillies, soaked
2 red onion
5 cloves of garlic
40g ginger
25g galangal (lengkuas)
5 lemongrass
2-3 star anise
4 cloves
3 inch of cinnamon
3 cardamom
1 can of tomato soup
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for deep frying plus ¼ cup extra
1 cup of peas, optional


Preparing Chicken. Rub chicken with turmeric and salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. Heat up the oil in a wok and deep fry the chicken pieces until golden in colour. Set aside.

Roughly chopped red onion, ginger, galangal and lemongrass, then transfer to a blender or food processors. Add in chillies and garlic. Process into a paste.

Heat up the wok with ½ cup of oil. Sauté the spices : Cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamom until fragrant. Then add in the blended paste. Bring the heat up until the paste bubble then lower the heat. Simmer till the paste is thoroughly cooked, fragrant and the oil separates from the paste (pecah minyak). Add in canned tomato soup, coconut milk and chicken pieces. Bring up the heat for a quick boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickened. Add peas and season with salt to taste. Garnish with some spring onion before serving.

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42 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. That looks so yummy! And you are so right about pairing it with nasi minyak. Perfect combo! I recall devouring ayam masak merah during kenduri and what not :)

  2. Nancy Chua via Facebook

    when was the last time i had it?should be more then 10yrs ago!am followed your recipe,result…..fantastic yuumy,thank you Bee!

  3. i was just watching AFC on chef wan this afternoon and he was cooking this ayam masak merah along with 2 other rendang dishes. I’m not really sure if i had eaten this dish, maybe i have but didnt know the name and it sure looks so attractive and unique flavour due to the ketchup and the spices in it. Wonderful guest post and so appropriate during this festive season!

  4. waaaah! this is my second time to encounter this recipe in my blogroll. hahaha this means i have to make it! haha i’m filipino and i’ve never made this before, but i’d like to believe this is definitely a must try. the pictures i’ve seen were mouthwatering. :)

  5. jo

    Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe,can’t wait to try it!
    Please tell me how much turmeric/turmeric powder I should use to rub the meat.
    Wish me luck!!!

  6. Pepy@Indonesia Eats

    Beautiful photos by Lisa! Ayam masak merah just reminds me of ayam masak habang, a Kalimantan chicken cooked in red chili sauce. Habang = Merah :)

    Perfect for Eid!

  7. Spandana

    I loved this recipe.. Planning to make it in the next week.
    I have a question, can we omit galangal or is there any other substitute for it? Will the dish taste as wonderful even without galangal?

  8. Huey1964

    I cooked this today. I like the taste but the coconut milk has a taste. I live in Minnesota and I bought the Aroy-D coconut milk for cooking. Any suggestion what type of coconut milk is the best to get in USA/

  9. Caroline

    made this last night…. was a hit!!! thank you!!!
    I used my new gadget to “fry” the chicken (without oil) and it turned out great!!!!

  10. Diya

    Where i live , u dont get lemongrass. So can i use any other substitute? plz let me know. coz i plan to make this dish very soon & it looks really yummy in da pic

    • sharifah

      I love Ayam Masak Merah and will cook this tonight for Ramadan. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

      GSN: Depending where you live (I live on US East Coast) many of the bigger grocery stores now have an Indian or Oriental/ International sections for these spices. If not, they are easily obtained from an Indian grocery market (I’m assuming you are not living in Malaysia or Singapore). Many Asian supermarkets in bigger cities also stock these basic spices as well as galangal and lemongrass -they’re now easier to obtain now thanks to a bigger interest in Thai and East Asian cooking in this country. Of course, nothing beats getting these items fresh from home.

  11. Jas See

    Hi, was wondering what kind of canned tomato soup (the creamy ones?) Or which brand do u normally use? Missing this dish and I’m planning to cook it during Ramahdan.

  12. Madinah Rahmad

    How many ml of tomato soup does the recipe calls for? And what brand of vanned tomato soup are you using?

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