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Friday, October 23, 2009

Honey Chicken in Red Gravy (Ayam Masak Merah) Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking

Tomato and Honey Chicken (Ayam Masak Merah)
Honey Chicken in Red Gravy (Ayam Masak Merah)

Locally known as Ayam Masak Merah and literally translated as "Chicken Cooked in Red Gravy", it's a common dish featured on the menu when you dine-out at Malay eateries in Malaysia. Although the chicken is drenched in a full-bodied, red-hued sweetish sauce, Ayam Masak Merah turns out to be a relative healthy option compared to those local curry with rich coconut gravy. At least, you will feel guilt free without having coconut milk in the dish.

Substituting the rich and calorie-laden coconut milk, honey and tomatoes infuse the savory sweet to the dish. The mélange of  of different textures - spices, finely-pounded mixture of garlic, ginger, onion, tomatoes and honey as well as distinct nuances integrate so well until it ends up in a thick, honeyed, red gloppy sauce, hence the name "red gravy" (masak merah). With long hours of marinating, the chicken is inherent with turmeric and briny flavors and deep-fried until crispy golden brown, drained up and then returned to the skillet again to mingle with thick soggy sauce. It was then brought to simmer until all the flavors marry well.

If you are looking for a balanced mix of full-bodied, briny and sweet accents dish to serve your Malay guests, then this recipe is for you. Enjoy!

Ingredients :

1 whole chicken, cut into big chunks
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
4 cloves
5 cardamon pods
2 tbsp chilli paste
2 tbsp meat curry powder
4 fresh tomatoes, quartered
1 canned tomato soup or tomato puree (small can is sufficient)
3 tbsp honey
2 sprigs of curry leaves
Salt to taste
Oil for deep-frying

Spices for Tomato and Honey Chicken (Ayam Masak Merah)
Spices for Honey Chicken in Red Gravy (Ayam Masak Merah)

For chicken marinade :
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

For pounded ingredients :
4 cloves of garlic, skin removed
1 inch ginger, skin peeled
1 big onion, skin peeled

Pound garlic, ginger, onion using pestle and mortar
Pound garlic, ginger, onion using pestle and mortar

Methods :

Pounded garlic,ginger,onion mixture as chicken marinade 1. Marinate the chicken with turmeric powder and salt, wrap with cling film and let it stands for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight in the fridge.

2. When the chicken are ready to be cooked, heat up the skillet with some oil, deep-fry the marinated chicken until it turns golden brown on both sides, dished up and drained with paper kitchen towel.

3. Remove excess oil in the skillet and leave about 4 tbsp of oil for sautéing the pounded ingredients and spices. Add in pounded ingredients (garlic, ginger, onion mixture) and followed by spices (cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and cardamon pods). Stir well until all onion caramelized and browned.

5. Add 2 tbsp of meat curry powder, stir well and wait until a layer of oil emerges on the surface. At this point, add in chilli paste and freshly quartered tomatoes. Mix well. When the tomatoes are slightly tender, add in tomato soup (or tomato puree). Cook for another 5 minutes.

6. Add in curry leaves and honey. Season with salt (to taste). Reduce to low flame to simmer for another 5 minutes until all the ingredients are well integrated with the tomatoes. Serve hot with steamed fluffy rice.

Pound garlic, ginger, onion using pestle and mortar, then marinade and deep-fry chicken
Pound garlic, ginger, onion using pestle and mortar, then marinade and deep-fry the chicken

More on  Healthy Easy Food Recipes 


  1. Hi Gladys,
    I luv Ayam Masak Merah.Urs look really yummy.

  2. that looks so delicious love how the red sauce coats the chicken pieces, sooo good with hot steamed rice.. :)

  3. @ Malaysian Delicacies : I also like the dish cooked with spices and herbs, they're the soul ingredients which brought out the flavors. Thanks for visiting.
    @ Olive : Red sauce without the coconut richness is more healthier. You may want to try to make it if you have all the trimmings. Thanks for dropping by.

  4. It just looks so delicious, I can't wait to make this one ;)



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