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Chicken Cooked in Spicy Tomato Sauce (Ayam Masak Merah)

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I had fond memories growing up in Malaysia and one of them is food. A multi-cultural country, Malaysia has a global reputation offering delectable variety of food with so many different flavours. Whether it is a fancy restaurant or just a hawker stall, every corner of the street you will find someone selling something to eat. Herbs and spices used in its diverse range of dishes not only satisfy ones tummy but also a feast to the eyes and makes every taste bud tingle.

Did I mention how much I love food? Just for the record, I love food…especially spicy food and this is one of my many favourites. In Malaysia, Ayam Masak Merah was once commonly cooked at home, but now it is one of the popular dishes served during festive occasions or kenduri (weddings).

For this recipe, I would normally use a whole chicken and cut it into about 8 pieces. But because we were entertaining a couple of guests, I chose chicken thighs instead which I feel makes it easier to eat. I started off by preparing the chicken, pat them dry and season with salt. Then the fun begins where I ground the herbs and spices with my mortal and pestle. The recipe requires dried chillies but by all means, feel free to use normal chilli paste or reduce the amount to your preferred heat level. I would suggest that you get all your ingredients ready before you start cooking so you don’t accidentally burn the spice paste. Here goes…

Chicken Cooked in Spicy Tomato Sauce (Ayam Masak Merah)

Ingredients

1 – 1.5 kg chicken thigh

3 stalks lemongrass, bruised

1 large spanish onions, sliced into rings

1 cm piece fresh ginger, sliced

2 teaspoon tamarind paste

410 gram tomato puree

250 ml water

3 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoon sugar

Some green peas

Salt

To make Spice Paste

About 20 dried chillies, soaked

10 shallots

5 cloves garlic

2 teaspoon fennel

2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Method

1. Using a food processor or mortar & pestle, ground ingredients to form a paste.

2. Prepare chicken, pat them dry and rub with a little bit of salt. Heat oil and fry the chicken pieces until it is half-cooked. Set aside.

3. In the same pot, sauté the blended paste, lemongrass until fragrant and the oil separates from the paste. Add tomato puree, water, tamarind paste, chicken pieces, sugar and season with salt. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer, cook until the gravy thickens.

4. Just before serving, stir in green peas and onion rings. Serve with steam rice.

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Easy Roast Beef

Sunday roast? Well, I don’t think one have to wait until the weekend. Any day is a good day to have your favourite roast. I have tried different recipes and methods. With mustard, without mustard, served with yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and the list goes on. Whatever it is I enjoyed every one of them and this time around, I chose to prepare it this way.

I do realise that I am using vegetable stock instead of beef stock but hey, what can I say I do tend to improvise and may I say it tasted just as good.

Easy Roast Beef

Ingredients

1 kg top rump

2 teaspoon butter

About 5 good size new potatoes, scrubbed.

4 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon cornflour

600 ml vegetable stock (that’s what I had in the fridge)

Salt and Pepper

Steamed Green beans and 4 ears of corns to serve

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a roasting pan and cook the roast until well browned. Remove roasting pan from the heat and season the beef with salt and lots of black pepper. Cover the beef with foil and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for about 5 minutes, drain.

3. Heat oil in a baking tray on the stove top, add the potatoes turning them in the oil until well coated. Place the pan of potatoes in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Then uncover the beef and roast with the potatoes for a further 15 minutes.

4. Remove beef and potatoes from the roasting pan. Cover the roast loosely with a foil to let it rest. Meanwhile, place the pan on the stove top, combine the cornflour with a little bit of water to form a paste (this is to avoid lumpy gravy) then stir it into the pan juices, cook for about 1 minute. Then add the stock, scraping the pan making sure you don’t waste the yummy bits. Bring it to the boil, stirring until gravy reduces and thickens slightly.

5. Serve with steamed green beans and corn.

Make a sandwich or two with the left-over meat. Lunch is covered…easy!

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