Ayam Masak Merah can be found in most countries in South East Asia. This version is one that can be found be found in Malaysia and for me, is so far, the best and comes closest to can be found sold by the Malay stalls.

Ayam Masak Merah 2Recipe by WendyinKK


  • ±900g chicken thighs, skin-on & bone-in, trimmed of fats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 1 red onion, peeled, halved and sliced (I used a large yellow onion)
  • ½ cup tomato ketchup (I used Heinz)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 200g frozen green peas – optional

Ingredients to be blended into Paste:

  • 3 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cm ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 red chilli, roughly chopped (add 2 more for more spiciness or remove seeds for less spiciness)



    Serves 4
    Prep time ±30 mins
    Cook time ±90 mins
    Total time ±120 mins
total time


  1. Marinate chicken with salt, turmeric and pepper for at least 30 mins or even, overnite.
  2. Blend shallots, ginger, garlic and chillies into a fine paste.
  3. Heat wok or a deep heavy-based pot on medium heat and add in ½ cup oil.
  4. Pan-fry chicken till skin turns golden. Dish up and put aside.  (It’s ok if chicken isn’t thoroughly cooked and still oozes some blood.)
  5. Pour away some oil, leaving behind abt 2-3 tbsp oil.
  6. Sauté blended ingredients on medium heat till it looks glossy (turns darker) and fragrant.
  7. Add in dry spices and sliced onion and continue to sauté till onions looks translucent and soft.
  8. Put in rest of ingredients, except green peas. Return chicken into wok or pot and cook till chicken’s cooked, gravy’s reduced and thickened, about 1-1½ hrs.
  9. Add in green peas (if using) and let it cook for another few mins.
  10. Serve with Nasi Tomato or just plain white rice.

Ayam Masak Merah 4

Oh, this is so yummy. I could just have the sauce with plain white rice and I’m completely satisfied.. 


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