Friday, 21 June 2013

Ayam Masak Merah (Chicken in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

A Malaysian friend came to visit us in Paris a few days ago (we miss you by the way, hun!), and she strongly suggested I try and prepare a Malaysian dish. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the main ingredients for the particular recipe she gave me. But resourceful me did some internet research and found another one. Its blend of spices is, let me tell you, fabulous! In the original recipe, 20 dried chillies were used, though, which might be a tad too spicy-hot for our Western taste buds, so I tuned it down to 4. It’s still a spicy experience but not one that'll leave you gasping for air, water or simply merciful death. For the chicken, you can use any part of the beast, to your convenience. Personnally, I’m not too keen on chicken thighs so I only used chicken breasts. 

What you need: 
  • 4-6 chicken breasts, diced (you can use thighs as well) 
  • 4 dried chillies, soaked 
  • 2 red onions 
  • 5 cloves of garlic 
  • 40 g of ginger 
  • 25 g of galangal 
  • 5 lemongrass 
  • 2-3 star anise 
  • 4 cloves 
  • 1 cinnamon, whole 
  • 3 cardamom 
  • 1 can of tomato soup 
  • 400 ml of coconut milk 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Some peas and carrots, optional 
How to proceed: 
  • Rub the diced chicken with turmeric and salt, then set aside for 30 minutes. 
  • In the meantime, mix the roughly chopped red onions, the ginger, galangal and lemongrass in your food processor. Add the chillies and garlic and mix some more until you get a smooth paste. 
  • Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a wok or pan and deep-fry the chicken pieces until they're golden in colour. Set them aside. 
  • Sauté the spices in the hot oil (cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamom) until fragrant. 
  • Add the paste and bring the heat up until the paste bubbles nicely, then lower the heat. 
  • Simmer till the paste is thoroughly cooked and fragrant. 
  • Add the tomato soup, coconut milk and chicken pieces. 
  • Bring up the heat for a quick boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens. 
  • Add peas and carrots. 
  • Season with salt to taste. 
Serve with rice. YOu shall see—it's simply and truly De.Li.Cious! Open a bottle of rich red wine to accompany the dish—its taste will even be richer. Bon appétit!


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