Cheat’s spicy chicken (ayam masak merah)

Ayam masak merah (or chicken in red sauce) is one of my favourite spicy chicken dishes. This is a cheat’s recipe, but it hits the spot for me whenever I cook it (which is not often enough).


  • 2 organic chicken drumsticks (seasoned with salt, pepper and 1 tsp chilli powder)
  • 1 tomato, quartered
  • 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder (or paprika)
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cinnamon bark
  • 1 lemon grass, bruised
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • olive oil


  1. Heat some oil in a pan, and lightly fry the chicken drumsticks for 2 minutes. Remove to a plate
  2. Fry the shallot, ginger, lemon grass, lime leaves and cinnamon for 30 seconds
  3. Transfer the chicken back into the pan, and stir for a minute
  4. Add in ketchup, chilli sauce and chilli powder and 1/2 cup of water
  5. Put the lid on and leave to simmer for 20 minutes
  6. Add in the tomatoes, sugar and salt to taste and leave to cook for a further 5 – 7 minutes before serving

I served the chicken with dhal, okra and basmati rice, and it was quite a treat for a Monday night’s meal. The chicken tastes even better if it has had some time to sit (say 2 hours or so) before serving but stove to table in an hour is the best that I can do.


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