Monday, September 08, 2008

Ayam Masak Merah

This recipe is called "Ayam Masak Merah". It is a spicy chicken Malay dish. To translate it in English >> Ayam~Chicken, Masak~Cooking, Merah~Red. Anyway, I was at work today, and people at work was wondering if I can cook for the 'break-fast'!! No! No! not breakfast but to break the fast.

Let me share with you what is fasting all about... It is the Islamic month of fasting which takes place during the 9th month (RAMADAN) in the Muslim calender. Participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat "sahur", the pre-dawn meal. We do not eat or drink anything after first prayer is said, until the fourth prayer of the day, is due. Well, after the sun has set, we may continue to eat and drink until the next morning's "fajr" prayer. The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God Almighty. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate. It is also intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable. After the whole month of fasting, we celebrate "Hari Raya Aidilfitri" :)

So that it is, about fasting... but my post today is not about that. It is about "Ayam Masak Merah"! Back to my story.... Hmm... since I am working with my sister, she said "Don't ask her, she enjoys cooking and she is down with it and she'll do it.." hehe... my sister knows me well... So I asked them what do they want me to cook.. To make a fast and simple dish, I thought of just cooking pasta.. but they said for that, it is easy for them to make... Then one of them said, "Ayam Masak Merah"... I was like... hmmm.. I do not know, but I can find out! So since all my recipe books at home, and all I have is the Internet in the office, so I searched for this recipe. I found one from The Star Online - Kuali, Malaysian Recipes. After they got the ingredients from the supermarket, I start with my cooking.... :)

Recipe: Ayam Masak Merah
Serving: 4 people

1 kg chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used a whole chicken and cut into 12 pieces.)
2 onions, quartered
3 potatoes, cut into wedges
2 tomatoes, quartered
1 small can tomato paste
150ml water
4cm piece cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 star anise
3–4 tbsp oil

Ground spices (A):
10 shallots
4 cloves garlic
12 red chillies, seeded
3cm ginger
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder

Seasoning (B):
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tbsp sugar or to taste

Heat oil until hot, sauté ground spices (A) until fragrant. Add in cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise. Fry for 1–2 minutes. Add onions, tomato paste and potatoes. Stir-fry well. Mix in water and tomatoes. Cook until mixture starts to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is tender and gravy turns thick. Add seasoning to taste and serve this mildly spiced curry dish with bread slices or with plain rice.

Enjoy and have a good day everyone! :)

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