Happee Monkee

Photography, food & travel

Ayam Masak Merah

By • Mar 27th, 2011 • Category: From My Mother's Kitchen

I have a huuuuuuuuuuggggeee weakness for ayam masak merah, which is chicken coated in a rich, tomato and honey sauce. Culturally in Malaysia, it is a Malay dish and they certainly do it very, very well. Whenever my parents dragged us to a Malay wedding, the only thing I look forward to is this dish (let me say now that Malay weddings are beautiful but for a kid, any weddings, no matter what cultural background, are boring). Bring on Hari Raya, my eyes skips to ayam masak merah. Sorry, but lemang and rendang never really made it to my list.

Being here in Linköping meant that Asian cuisine is slightly limited. Not just that, ingredients comes up short (as I’ve already mentioned here), so, I had to improvise. It wasn’t too bad, missing an ingredient or two, I thought. But if you like the full (proper) recipe, you can go to Elaine’s blog: A Series of Kitchen Experiments.

P.S.: Don’t forget about our Yummilicious Postcard & Photo Giveaway! I’m picking a winner on April 1, 2011.

Here’s my version:

Ayam Masak Merah Madu / Chicken with Honey Tomato Sauce
(Adapted from A Series of Kitchen Experiments)


A for frying:

  • 5-6 chicken drumsticks*
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • a pinch of pepper
  • Enough oil for deep frying/shallow frying

B for blending:

  • 1 large onion, cubed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 inch of ginger
  • 5 red chilis, de-seeded
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp hot paprika (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon ground coriander (subst: ground basil)

C for sauce:

  • 1 large onion, sliced in rings
  • 1 x 400g can of chopped tomato
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch of ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • 2 tbsp raw sugar
  • juice from half a lemon
  • salt to taste



  1. Put all (except oil) of (A) in a ziplock bag. Shake the bag until all the chicken pieces are well coated. Let chicken marinate for 30 minutes
  2. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. When oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and fry until all sides are golden brown. Drain off the oil with paper towels and set aside.
  3. Blend all of (B) and set aside.
  4. Discard most of the oil used for the chicken but two tablespoons.
  5. In the same pan, saute cardamom and cinnamon until fragrant (approx. 1-2 mins) on medium high heat.
  6. Add garlic, ginger and sultanas. Cook until sultanas plumps up and then, add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and blended ingredients (B).
  7. Saute the sauce until it forms a thick paste then add the honey, lemon juice, raw sugar and salt.
  8. Stir in the chicken and onion into sauce. Combine well.
  9. Let the sauce thicken and reduce. Lower heat, cover the pan and continue cooking for about 15 minutes.
  10. Serve with white rice. Om nom nom! It’s time to eat!

*NOTE: You can use other chicken parts if you wish


Related posts:

  1. Ginger & Garlic Paste
  2. Taro Cake
  3. Prosciutto Basil & Bocconcini Chicken Parcels
  4. MFWF: Heat Beads Hawkers’ Market
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13 Responses »

  1. Hiya Mable… can’t resist to comment after drooling over your plate (photo) in FoodGawker..
    This dish would make me do my ‘joget’ and jump up and down with excitement :D

  2. Lol Yeah…. Ayam Masak Merah does such things to oneself.

  3. Mmm…delicious…my favourite, too. The colour is so pretty. I will eat a big bowl of rice with this :D

  4. Yum! i cheat and use the instant paste packets when I miss home! Thanks for sharing the recipe, now I can attempt it independently! And I shall!

  5. Mary: I know! Me too!
    Baobabs: I use those packets too for ‘lazy days’. If I can do it, you can do it! :D

  6. hi Mable,
    I tried this recipe last night. It came out wonderfully well. But was just wondering why I dint get the red colour like the one on the photos you’ve posted here.

  7. Hi Bonzi,
    Thanks for trying it. I’m not sure if it could be the difference in tomato paste or I forget to say (sorry!) that I added a 1/4 tsp of hot paprika to the blended chilis.


  8. Oh I love Ayam Masak Merah too! throw in some pappadums. yummyyy

  9. Thanks for dropping by Swee San :) Ohhh yum, pappadums! I have to put that on the shopping list next!

  10. One of my favs! I like the idea of adding honey, must try!

  11. [...] I learned to do something today which I’ve been wanting to learn for a long time. I learned to cook a Malaysian dish. Not just any Malaysian dish either, but one, that I often get cravings for. This one is Ayam Masak Merah. [...]

  12. I just tried this and it came out SO DELICIOUS! I really enjoy how you broke the recipe down into groups, it made it really easy to follow. Thanks for sharing such fantastic tastes!

  13. Glad you like it :)

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