SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

July 17, 2010

Ayam masak merah – looks like Afritada ya?

Filed under: Food,Philippines,Recipe — Alex @ 7:46 pm

When I was a kid, I have a lot of Malay friends. Even when I was a young boy, I am always curious to see other people’s culture. Even though we are from the same country, but our mother tongue is totally different and also the food that we consume. After all the Chinese are the migrants so this does not come as a big surprise. I was hooked to Malay food because of my Malay neighbor. This Malay lady that is my neighbor that I call “Makcik” is really a good cook. In English, Makcik would be known as Auntie.

Back in the days, life was so much simpler. You don’t need to go to nursery or attend kindergarten till you are 6 years old. Since my mom and dad goes to work, I will simply just go hang out in my neighbor’s house. Makcik is a full time housewife and she will find the time to hang out with me while doing her daily chores in between. She would play Dam Haji ( checkers ), Snake and Ladder and my personal favorite LUDO! That game made me obsessed with the number 6 and I always beat her in all the games at a very young age. ( I have the suspicion now that she purposely let me win all the games ).

So life was good especially when it comes to lunch time. I would be joining Makcik and her two kids (who are much older than me ) after they come back from school. This is where I learn how to eat with my hands and developed my love for spicy food. After lunch, it would be the turn of Makcik’s 2 sons to entertain me. We normally play caroms but my fingers were not strong enough back then. I was probably like 4 or 5 years old.

Ayam masak merah is one of my favorite dishes when cooked by Makcik. If you translate it directly, it would be Chicken Cook Red. The dish is sweet and spicy and it goes well with Nasi Minyak or Briyani. I will try to feature this two rice dish that I just mentioned in the future post. For now, let me share my version of Ayam Masak Merah.


  • Half chicken cut to bite size or slightly bigger
  • 2 cloves garlic ( crushed )
  • One onion ( sliced into half moon shape )
  • Tamarind juice ( 5 spoonful )
  • Chili paste ( made from Chili powder added with water ) – 2 spoonful added with water
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomatoes Sauce
  • half stick cinnamon
  • two star anise
  • turmeric powder
  • sugar  ( 2 spoonful ) and salt ( to your taste )
  • small cut ginger
  • 1 lime ( kalamansi )


  • marinated chicken with turmeric powder for an hour ( can add a bit of salt and pepper if you really like salty )
  • After one hour, deep fry chicken to 3/4 cook and set aside
  • heat up 5 spoonful oil ( can use the same oil that fried the chicken )
  • put in clove and star anise
  • when fragrant, add in garlic and onion
  • add in ginger
  • add in chili paste
  • add in tomatoes sauce
  • add in tamarind juice
  • add in sugar and salt
  • when gravy a slightly thick, add in the fried chicken and tomatoes
  • mixed the chicken and the gravy
  • continue till chicken is cooked
  • once cook, squeeze kalamansi juice on the dish
  • ready to serve with plain rice

Note :- If you pretty spicier, you can add chili labuyo ( bird’s eye chili )

My Filipino friends when saw this dish, they thought it was chicken afritada. But I think the taste is different but has some similarities as it is a tomatoes base cooking for the gravy after all.

This chicken dish is very popular during Malay weddings in kampung. I love going to Malay weddings as they serve really good food. Is normally server with Nasi Minyak, Nenas Pacari , Acar Timun and Beef Rendang. When my Filipino friends asked me some meaning of a certain Malay words, I got the feeling they must be watching the cartoon of Upin and Ipin from Disney channel. I like that cartoon as the stories are really like blast from the past. That’s how the culture and living in a Malay kampung back in the days are.

2 responses to “Ayam masak merah – looks like Afritada ya?”

  1. ajay says:

    wow, looks good! nice meeting you last night Alex. Hope to see u in the next food aventures ~ ajay (and matthew)

  2. Alex says:

    Hello Analynn…

    Was great meeting you guys too….likewise, hoping to see you in other future events…and I love your about page….never expected you to be that cheeky and witty!

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