Ayam masak merah is literally chicken cooked in red sauce. The red sauce here comes from tomatoes and is mildly spiced with aromatics such as ginger, garlic and dried chillies. The chicken pieces in must be marinated with turmeric powder and deep fried before braising them in the spiced tomato gravy. As the gravy thickens, it develops more flavours along with the fried turmeric chicken.
While turmeric powder is used in this dish, you can opt for fresh turmeric. Use at least 2 tablespoons of fresh turmeric. Pound the turmeric with the skin removed until it becomes a paste. Optionally, add 0.5 tablespoon of water to it and mix the chicken pieces with the turmeric paste and salt.
Tomatoes are added to the dish for the colour and also to add sweetness to the gravy. In summer, tomatoes can get exceptionally sweet while winter offers tomatoes which are milder in taste. Instead of using fresh tomatoes, substitute with half a can of tomato puree for this recipe.
Ayam masak merah is only mildly spiced. If you do not want it to be spicy, just omit the dried chillies from the recipe. Otherwise, simply follow the tips in handling dried chillies to reduce the spiciness.
I adore the slight hint of spiciness in the dish. Normally, chicken meat is mixed with plain flour before they are fried. In this recipe, turmeric is added to the flour. The addition of turmeric enhances the flavour of the fried chicken meat, thus they can be eaten just as they are. However, if you love flooding your plate of rice with gravy, this is the perfect dish for you.
Ayam Masak Merah is also known as: Spicy tomato chicken
Marinate chicken meat with turmeric powder and salt for 15 minutes.
Fry chicken meat after they had been marinated for 15 minutes.
Blend yellow onion, ginger, garlic and chillies. Sauté blended ingredients in oil over medium heat until fragrant. Then, add the diced tomato and ketchup.
Add water to the sauteed ingredients and cook at highest heat. Once the gravy starts to boil, reduce heat to the lowest to allow it to simmer. When gravy thickens, add the fried chicken meat and mix well.