Ayam Masak Merah

Chicken Sambal

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Every family in Malaysia would have their own recipe for this dish. This is my family’s version and we usually serve it during Eid. It’s quite spicy, so it’s not really the best thing to eat first thing in the morning, but it’s a family tradition that we continue with.

Ingredients

  • 1 small chicken, about 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz)
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250 ml (8 fl oz / 1 cup) coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind juice
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2 turmeric leaves, finely sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced

Spice Paste

  • 200 g (7 oz) shallots, peeled
  • 10–15 dried chillies, seeds removed and soaked in hot water to rehydrate, then squeezed to remove excess water before using
  • 2 large red chillies
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 5-cm (2-inch) knob ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 250 ml (8 fl oz / 1 cup) water

Method

  • Wash the chicken and pat dry. Cut into 8 pieces. Set aside.
  • Place the ingredients for the spice paste in a blender and process until smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the spice paste and fry for 30 minutes or until the oil separates. Add a little water every 15 minutes or whenever the mixture becomes too dry.
  • Add the chicken, coconut milk, tamarind juice and salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Add the turmeric leaves and onion. Stir to mix and simmer for another 3 minutes.
  • Dish out and serve hot with rice and other dishes.

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