New Recipes

Ayam Masak Merah (Chicken in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Ayam Masak Merah
Ayam Masak Merah pictures (2 of 3)

Tomorrow is Hari Raya or Eid, the biggest Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, or the Islamic holy month of fasting. As a Malaysian, we celebrate all festivities (regardless of our race and ethnicity) with food, food, and more food, and that’s why I invited one of my favorite Malaysian food bloggers Lisa at My Lemony Kitchen to share a classic Malaysian recipe with us: Ayam Masak Merah or Chicken in Creamy Spicy Tomato Sauce. My Lemony Kitchen is an excellent food blog with lots of delicious recipes: Malaysia, Asian, western, baking, you name it and you’ll have it. For my Muslim readers, I wish you all “Selamat Hari Raya” or Happy Eid.

I am honoured to receive an invite from Bee of Rasa Malaysia, to guest post on her beautiful blog. Thank you, Bee…

I was ecstatic but at the same time…was feeling nervous…what shall I cook? How shall I present my post? Everyone in the food blogging community knows Bee and her beautiful blog—Rasa Malaysia. Lucky me, Bee had made it easier by suggesting Ayam Masak Merah or chicken cooked in rich creamy spicy tomato sauce.

Mentioned Ayam Masak Merah to a Kedahan (Kedah is a state in the far North of Malaysia), would immediately evoke memories of  “traditional Malay weddings” and Hari Raya or Eid Celebration. Yes…Ayam Masak Merah is not an everyday affair in a typical household in Kedah. It is a unique dish to be enjoyed on special occasions… served with Nasi Minyak or  Savoury Rice, fresh salad of cucumber, pineapple, cut-up chillies and red onions.

Ayam Masak Merah

Ayam Masak Merah has unique flavours, the taste is beautiful and unforgettable although it shares some basic similar spices (cinnamon, cloves, star anise and chillies) to Chicken Curry. It is distinctively different, be it in the texture of the chicken or the tantalizing flavours in the sauce.

The chicken pieces are rubbed in with turmeric and salt and are deep fried till golden in colour. Deep frying seals the juice as well as it gives the chicken pieces, a firmer texture to every bite. The pieces are then added to the simmering sauce. This gives the chicken, its rich flavour, with its subtle heat from the chillies, sweet and sour-ish taste from the tomato soup combine with creaminess from coconut milk.

Moslems in Malaysia and around the world will be celebrating Hari Raya Aidil Fitri or Eid Mubarak tomorrow, perhaps Ayam Masak Merah could be one of the dish that you might want to cook and join in the Celebration.

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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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