How to make ayam masak merah

Ayam masak merah is one of my favourite things to eat. Literally translated, it means Chicken cooked in red gravy. It is a robust, rich and filling food that can be eaten with practically anything – rice, bread, roti jala. This was a dish that we’d usually have every other week while back in Singapore.

Having missed my comfort food, I tried my best to find most of the ingredients and attempted to make it myself. One of the ingredients is this concentrated tomato paste. Refrain yourself from trying to brush your teeth with this

Tomato Paste, not toothpaste

However, there are some key ingredients that I can’t get here in Rome. One of them being fresh lemon-grass and I don’t even see it for sale in the Asian kiosk that I patronise.

Nevertheless, I still have a few ingredients at hand and here is an easy way to make Ayam Masak Merah. You will need :

  • Chicken (Cut into pieces)
  • Turmeric powder
  • Potatoes
  • Tomato concentrate or Tomato sauce
  • Fresh tomatoes (Diced)
  • Ginger, Garlic, Onion, Soaked dried chilli, Lemongrass (Blended together)
  • Coconut Milk

First, marinate the chicken with salt and tumeric powder and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Chicken in tumeric powder

While waiting for the chicken to be marinated, slice and fry some potato wedges.

Frying potatoes

Using the same oil, fry the chicken. In another pan, I fry the ground ginger, garlic, onion and chilli till they look ‘crispy’. Then add the tomatoes continue to fry till they look soft.

Frying ginger, garlic, onion, chilli

Now I add in the tomato concentrate and a bit of sugar. Then add in the chicken and the potato. Taste for salt.

Ayam masak merah

The final step is to add in some coconut milk to give it the rich flavour. Stir and leave to cook for a few minutes and serve with white rice.

Ayam masak merah

A delicious and hearty but relatively easy Malay dish that can be cooked in about an hour. For me, it brings back a piece of Singapore, no matter where I am 🙂

14 Replies to “How to make ayam masak merah”

  1. Sis, i usually add galangal (lengkuas) and coconut milk and a bit sugar.

    back to Tekong story 🙂
    my grandfather’s name is Hussin Yet, Grandma is Mariah.. I can’t remember what they call my grandpa back then.

    Gosh i really miss that place..

  2. Liza

    Dont think that I’ve seen galangal for sale here before, will try to keep an active search for it but the coconut milk! Of course! Why did I forget that! No wonder its off!

    I’ll try and ask my mother if she knows your grandparents. I’m pretty sure she’d know! 🙂


    Have, I add a bit of dried chili padi while frying the pounded spices 🙂

  3. Hmm… My mum usually blends big red onion, garlic and chilli kering altogether. Tomato paste dah tentu. Lengkuas tak tahu kalau dia taruk. Serai sudah mesti. Agaknyer, takde asam tak, Rinaz?

  4. I think i know what you did wrong. You cooked it too much because you were taking photos! Lol.
    But ya, coconut milk really helps. The other time i tried cooking and everybody was licking their fingers off :D.

  5. Kynne

    Serai is practically impossible to find here. Satu hari cari tau 🙁

    Tak apa lah, nanti “take two” hehehe!


    Ok, that can be done 🙂


    London sey!


    Oh please! Pictures only takes a few seconds to take 😛

    And woo, you’re a pro at cooking now! 🙂

  6. my style is to grind all the ingredients and make a paste, like onions, chili, abit of serai, lengkuas, ginger. Then cook till garing, add the tomato paste, seasoning and wallahhh!!.. Hehehhe Try not to add too much tomato paste thou.. try it again and u might get it right this time.

    Oh btw, I love reading ur posts.. Take care dear.

  7. Maalikka

    Baking? Maybe once a year for making cookies for hari raya 😛

    Havent tried making tiramisu yet, but that sounds like a great idea to try next!


    Thank you for dropping by and yeah, I think that the grind/blend method is the best!

    Over here I have yet to find lemongrass and lengkuas though. So I have to omit it 🙁

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