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Ayam Masak Merah (Malay-style Chicken in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 4
Author: Meena, www.hookedonheat.com


  • 3 large boneless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 medium-sized onion roughly chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass (the fresh bottom part only) roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp light cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp sambal olek (red chilli paste)
  • salt to taste
  • water as needed


  • Marinade chicken in turmeric powder and a pinch of salt, and set aside.
  • Blend onion, tomatoes and lemongrass to a smooth fine paste, adding a little water if necessary.
  • Heat oil in a non-stick wok and fry the marinated chicken till lightly browned. Set aside.
  • In the same pan, add in garlic, ginger and sambal olek, and fry to a few seconds till fragrant. Slowly add in the onion-tomato-lemongrass paste, stirring continuously till it starts to become slightly darker in colour and give out oil from the sides.
  • Mix in the fried chicken, and some water if necessary depending on the sauce consistency you prefer. Season with salt and let it cook covered for another 5-6 minutes till the chicken is completely cooked through. Serve warm.