The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

My version of Ayam Masak Merah

This will most probably not look like the traditional Malay dish Ayam Masak Merah (literal English translation from the Malay language: Chicken Cook Red - the 'red' is because of the tomatoes), but I did adapt this recipe from Ayam Masak Merah recipes so I'm calling it my version of the dish. I believe that whole chicken pieces are usually used, and that they are usually deep-fried first. Not having deepfried anything in my life before, and not being brave to venture near anywhere or anything greasy, I decided to use healthy skinless chicken breast fillets instead. I'm out to prove that healthy can be yummy too!

This is such a simple recipe I'm almost embarassed to post it. But the spicy chicken coating turned out so yummy that I thought it deserves a mention! The quantities given here are only estimates of what I used (I didn't use any measuring instruments - mostly went by feel), and since I didn't write down the recipe as I was preparing it thus having to rely on my memory, I'm hoping I haven't missed any ingredients.


400g chicken - cut into bite-sized pieces
1tabspn cornflour
1tabspn soy sauce
0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
0.5 tsp ground cinammon
1tsp turmeric ('kunyit') powder
2 tabspn Oil for panfrying

1 tabspn oil
1 onion - sliced
1tsp grated ginger
3cloves garlic - squashed then pressed/minced/chopped
dried chilli flakes to taste
half can (~200g) of crushed tomatoes (most recipes call for chilli paste, tomato paste and tomato sauce - I used what was available in my kitchen)
2 tomatoes - quartered
1tsp sugar (to take away the acidic edge of tomatoes)


Marinate the chicken with the cornflour, soy sauce and the spices for a few hours or overnight. The cornflour serves to keep the chicken tender during the cooking process. Heat some oil in a pan to a high heat (until the oil is smoking), then pan fry the chicken for a couple of minutes until it browns. Some of the spices will stick to the pan, so keep moving the chicken around (ie stirfrying) to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove chicken from pan. (scrape off the crunchy spicy bits stuck to the pan and enjoy them - only if they're not already burnt black)

Heat more oil in the pan and cook sliced onion until they soften and slightly caramelised. Add ginger, garlic and chilli and stirfry for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, the juice of which should deglaze the pan, and stir to combine. Add the chicken, the quartered tomatoes, sugar and bring the dish to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with veges over rice.

No comments:

Post a Comment