I think readers who like to eat Malay or Padang food will know there is a dish name “Ayam Masak Merah”, the red coloured chicken which in essence using lots of tomato sauce to cook the chicken. It is usually served with tomato rice and appeared in the kenduri or Malay feast.
However there is another common dish name “Ayam Masak Hitam” or black coloured chicken dish. Another name that may be called is ayam masak kicap or soya sauce chicken . I always remember this dish because of its colour and name. It is no more than some meat dishes cooked with very dark soya sauce. It can be beef, chicken innards and also chicken itself. It is considered as a festival dish too as it take quite a while and lots of ingredients to cook the chicken.
Black coloured dishes are unconvincing and difficult to take images. The black soya sauce will mask all the delicious spices and herbs used to cook the dish. Though it masks the colour but not the taste but it leaves very little space of imagination for those who have never tried the dish.
If you think that the dish is full of soya sauce flavour, it is not correct. The dish is very aromatic with a mixture of herbs and spices fragrance. In fact, this black coloured dishes uses much more spices than the normal curry dishes. It is essentially a curry without coconut milk but soya sauce. Is it hot and spicy? Oh yes, it can be as spicy as you want it to be..
i have cooked twice and we finished all. Of course, i did not cook too spicy such that my kids will not eat. The first attempt is too oily and today, I cooked for the second time with much less oil. The cumin flavoured chicken dish is just delicious.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 6-8 adults
- 1 medium size chicken, cut into big pieces
- 3-4 pandan leaves, bundled
- 5 red chilli
- 5 shallots
- 10 cloves of garlics
- 2 stalks of lemon grass
- 1 tomato
- 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons of cumin powder
- 5 tablespoons of thick dark caramelized soya sauce or kicap ABC
- 2 tablespoons of dark soya sauce
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar or gula Melaka
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 5 cloves
- 3 tablespoons of tamarind juice (optional)
- Salt to taste
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Put one tablespoon of Kicap ABC and marinate the chicken for at least 1/2 hour.
- In a blender, blend tomato, lemon grass, garlic, shallots and red chilli. Add few tablespoons of water and blend until as fine as possible.
- In a wok, heat up 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil, add the blended herbs, cumin powder and tomato sauce, sauté until aromatic and oil start to separate from the spice mix. Add the chicken, cinnamon stick, star anise and cloves. Pan fry for 2-3 minutes until flavour are well incorporated. Add the pandan leaves, about 1/2 cups of water, Kicap ABC and normal dark soya sauce. Bring to boil and once it boils, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is soft. If it dries up too fast, add more water . Before off the heat, add pinches of salt and gula Melaka.
- Off the heat and let the chicken rest in the wok for at least one hour before serving for flavour to further develop. The dish is best served with white rice as a standard meat dish.
You must cook this dish to know the deliciousness. The picture in itself will not tell much. Even if you are in a Malay stalls, you may not order the dish as one may prejudice that it is just cooked with soya sauce without knowing the huge amount of herbs and spices used. Do give it a try and let me know if it suits your taste bud. Lastly, remember that you can cook with beef which is a very common variant and the name will become Daging Masak Hitam.
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