Malay Wedding Menu – Ayam Masak Merah (Spicy Tomato Chicken )

Ayam Masak Merah

Ayam Masak Merah is a Malay/Indonesian dish which is spicy and sweet at the same time. Pieces of chicken are first pan-fried to a golden brown then slowly simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. This popular Malay dish is especially scrumptious with Nasi Tomato (tomato rice), Nasi Jagung or Nasi Briani.

Reipe for Ayam Masak Merah

Ayam Masak Merah Ingredients:

  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup dried red chile peppers
  • 3 fresh red chile pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 (3/4 inch thick) slice fresh ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seed oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole star anise pods
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 cardamom seeds
  • 1 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons green peas
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves for garnishing


  1. Rub the chicken with turmeric powder and salt. Set aside. Soak the dried red chile peppers in hot water until softened. Blend the softened dried chile, fresh red chile pepper, garlic, onion, and ginger in a blender to a paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken in the hot oil until golden on all sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Remove excess oil from the skillet, leaving about 1-2 tablespoon.
  3. Cook and stir the chile paste with the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamom seeds and the spices until fragrant. Return the chicken to the skillet. Stir in the water, adding more if needed. Stir evenly.
  4. Toss in the tomatoes and stir in the ketchup sugar and salt to taste.
  5. Add green peas. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 15 minutes.
  6. Serve hot with Nasi Briani. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Variation: Substitute chicken with beef, mutton or lamb for ‘Daging Masak Merah’ [Red-Cooked Meat].


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  1. mot44eeds

    kalau makan ngan nasi panas panas mesti sedap niihh!!! ayam merah enak dan lazat…mmmmmm

  2. Anonymous

    yummy…delicious…my favourite, too. The colour is so eye-catching. I will eat a big bowl of rice with this!