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Recipe: Spicy Malaysian Tomato Chicken Curry (Ayam MasakMerah)

Note: this curry goes perfectly with roti canai or served with fluffy jasmine rice.


8 chicken thighs

2 tbsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp salt

4 tbsp vegetable oil

10 dried chillies, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes

1 red onion, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves

20g ginger, roughly chopped

15g galangal, roughly chopped

3 lemongrass, roughly chopped

2 whole star anise

2 inch cinnamon

2 cardamom pods

400ml tinned chopped tomatoes

400ml Mai Siam Coconut Milk

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Cooking Method

Serves 4

1. Rub the chicken thighs with the turmeric and salt and leave to marinade for 30 minutes.

2. In a food processor or blender add the red onion, garlic, ginger, galangal, lemongrass and soaked chillies. Blitz into a paste; it doesn’t need to be completely smooth.

3. Heat a wok or large saucepan over a medium heat and add 2 tbsp vegetable oil. Fry the chicken thighs in batches for 3-4 minutes until they are evenly browned and then keep to the side.

4. Add the remaining 2 tbsp vegetable oil to the wok and fry the star anise, cinnamon and cardamom pods for 30 seconds or until fragrant, being careful not to let them burn.

5. Add the paste to the toasted spices and lower the heat. Simmer the paste until you can see the oils starting to separate from the paste. Then add the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk to the pan and turn up the heat to medium to bring to the boil.

6. Add the chicken thighs back to the pan along with the potatoes and then lower the heat so that the curry gently simmers. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through.

7. Serve piping hot and garnish with coriander just before serving.