Ayam Merah

A classic Malay dish that you can often find in nasi padang stalls. The name means "red chicken", referring to the spicy tomato paste the chicken is simmered in.


8 whole chicken legs

125 ml tomato paste

1 cup water





Spice Mix

1 medium onion

6 shallots

6 fresh chillies

3 dried chillies

2 stalks sireh, sliced thinly, discarding green portion.

3/4" knob lengkuas, sliced very thinly.

1/2" knob halia, sliced very thinly.

1/2 tsp belacan


1. Season chicken legs with salt, pepper and sugar. Set aside for 1/2 hour.

2. Meanwhile grind all the spice ingredients together finely.

3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan over medium-high heat, until oil is hot.

4. Brown chicken quickly, ensure that all exposed surfaces are well sealed. Remove and set aside.

5. Turn down heat to low, throw in spice mix into the pan. Saute spices for at least 5 minutes until fragrant and oil separates.

6. Put in chicken pieces, fry in spices for about 3 minutes.

7. Add in tomato paste and water. Simmer for 45 minutes.

8. Adjust salt and sugar to taste. This dish should be sweet sour.