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Ayam masak merah recipe

By Debbie Teoh
2 July 2010 3:39 PM Updated 13 Oct 2010

Ayam masak merah recipe

Ayam masak merah, also know as red-cooked chicken is often served at Malay weddings or celebrations. The dish gets most of its red colouring from tomato sauce. Spices such as lemongrass and galangal give the dish a lovely aroma.


Serves 4-6



650g chicken, cut into bite size and marinated for 1 hour in the fridge with:

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt


2 cups cooking oil, for deep frying chicken pieces


Spice paste:

3 shallots, peeled

1 clove garlic

8 stalks dried chillies, soaked till soft

5g young ginger, cleaned

5g galangal

20g lemongrass, use the bottom 2cm only


Ingredients B:

180ml water

125ml low fat milk

2 tablespoons tomato paste/ puree

2 tablespoons tomato sauce

1 teaspoon sugar or to taste

1 teaspoon salt or to taste


2 fresh tomatoes, quartered

¼ cup shallot crisps



1 sprig coriander leaves

2 tablespoons shallot crisps



1. Using an electric blender, finely grind spice paste ingredients.

2. In a frying pan, add cooking oil and deep fry marinated chicken pieces over medium heat for 1 minute. Remove chicken and place on paper towels. The chicken need not be thoroughly cooked at this stage.

3. Remove some oil, leaving about 60ml in the wok.

4. Pour spice paste into wok and sauté till fragrant, stirring continuously to prevent burning.

5. Add fried chicken pieces, ingredients B and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add more water if the gravy becomes too thick.

6. Add salt, sugar, tomatoes, shallot crisps and adjust seasonings to taste.

7. Remove and serve dish garnished with coriander leaves and shallot crisps.


With more than 10 years experience in the food industry, Debbie is a true-bred Nyonya who hails from Malacca. She is the author of numerous cookbooks, including “UNDERWRAPS” by Marshall Cavendish Cuisine and “Penang Food Guide & Cookbook” and “Nyonya Flavours” by Star Publications. Debbie develops and tests recipes for companies, and contributes to magazines. She is also a Nyonya food consultant for Tourism Malaysia.

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