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Cinta Dapur » Featured, Main course » Ayam Masak Merah – Chicken, chilli and spices

Ayam Masak Merah – Chicken, chilli and spices

Ayam masak merah (chicken, chilli and spices) is one of my favourite malay dish. As with Malay recipes, it utilises a lot of spices to create a fusion of tangy and pungent taste. Malay food, never fails to excite the taste buds.

With the proper equipment, this dish should be a walk in the park. Here’s how you do it.

Chicken Chilli and Spices

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  • 3 pieces chicken leg (cut into bite size chunks)
  • 2 tbs turmeric powder
  • 1 onion (half cut into strips, the other half cut fine)
  • 3-4 dried chilli (crushed)
  • 2 birds eye chilli (sliced fine)
  • 1 x thumbsized ginger, sliced fine
  • 4 X chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tbs tomato sauce
  • 3 tbs sweet soya sauce (also known as kecap manis)
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • Vegetable oil


  • Marinade chicken in turmeric powder for half hour
  • In a mortar, make a paste by griding half an onion, dried chilli, birds eye chilli and ginger into a paste. Alternatively, place them all into a blender with 1 tbs of vegetable oil
  • Heat up a pot with 4 tbs of oil then shallow fry the chicken till brown and crispy; well yellow and crispy in this instance (chicken does not need to be complete cooked at this stage) – If your pot is not big enough, consider frying the chicken in batches.
  • Remove the chicken and let it rest on paper towels
  • With the remaining oil, add in the spice paste and allow to fry for 1-2 minutes
  • Add in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, sweet soya sauce and sugar and give it a good stir
  • Add in half cup of water and allow the mixture to simmer until it thickens into a gravy like texture
  • Add  in chicken and allow to cook thoroughly.
  • Serve with rice

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Cinta Dapur is authored by Ivan Cho, who currently works as a Project Manager in the Digital Advertising arena in London. He is also a freelance photographer and a hobbyist food photographer

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