Ayam Masak Merah literally translates to Chicken Cook Red is a flavorful Malay dish featuring chicken cooked in a slightly spicy and tangy tomato-based sauce. Here's a simple recipe for Ayam Masak Merah.



  • 1 whole chicken (cut into 12 pieces bone-in and skin on) 
    To be washed, cleaned and marinade with 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder. 
  • Heat 1 cup of vegetable cooking oil and fry the chicken till half cooked and set aside.  
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced 
  • 1 medium onion, cut quarter inch thick crosswise to make rings 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1-inch ginger, minced 
  • 1 can (400g) of chopped tomatoes 
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 4 tablespoons chili paste (adjust to your spice level) 
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 2 cloves 
  • 2 cardamoms 
  • 1 star anise 
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock 
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil 
  • Salt to taste (optional) 
  • 1 cup of chopped coriander – keep half cup for garnish 
  • ½ cup of can peas 
  • ½ cup of chopped fresh mints  




Heat oil (use the same oil to fry the chicken for extra flavor) in a pan or pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, star anise and chopped onions. Sauté until they turn golden brown. 

Step 2

Add the minced garlic and ginger and continue to sauté until fragrant. 

Step 3

Add the fried chicken pieces and mix well.  

Step 4

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, chili paste, curry powder, and half cup of fried shallots. Mix everything well. 

Step 5

Add water or chicken stock to the pot. Mix thoroughly and bring it to a gentle simmer. 

Step 6

Cover the pot and let it cook on low-medium heat for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. 

Step 7

Add in chopped coriander (leave some for garnish) and chopped fresh mint. Stir well.  

Step 8

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt according to your preference. Add the onion rings and stir gently so as not to break them.  Once the chicken is cooked, onions are translucent and the sauce has thickened to your liking, remove the pot from the heat. 

Garnished with chopped coriander and peas and served hot alongside steamed rice or tomato rice (recipe provided here) 
Note: If use boneless chicken, marinade as per recipe above and sear in a pan for 4 to 5 mins. The chicken does not need to be cooked through.  



 Used in this Recipe

Chilli Paste

( ST101 )

Chilli Pastes or Sambal Tumis serves as a versatile dish.

Ingredients Onion, Dried Chilli, Garlic, Palm oil, Shrimp paste (Contains shrimp), Tamarind, Sugar, Salt, Anchovy, and Vinegar. Contains Permitted Flavor Enhancer (E621), and Preservatives (E211).
Spice Level High
Weight 180g
Allergen Contains Fish and Shrimps

Sambal tunis is one of the cornerstones of Malaysian cuisine, loved by millions. This paste blends the sheer heat of red chillis with shallots for a slightly sweet undertone.

This chilli paste is endlessly versatile, and can be used to add extra heat to dishes, as a marinade for your proteins or as a base for a seriously spicy stir fry or curry.



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