How to Cook Ayam Masak Lemak (Chicken With Creamy Coconut Milk)

Updated on June 24, 2019
lizmalay profile image

Liza is a homemaker. She has an obsession with coffee and loves collecting postcards from friends all over the world.

Food In Malay Culture

When I was young, I remember watching my mother cook every day in the kitchen. I would come home from school, and food would be waiting on the table for all of us to sit down and eat together. One of our most treasured Malay customs is for families to sit together and enjoy homecooked meals. Even if we didn't have much, we were always grateful for what we had to eat every day. This is certainly part of what has shaped who I am today.

Ayam Masak Lemak

While I visiting my hometown recently, I decided to make ayam masak lemak, or chicken with creamy coconut milk. It is a type of comfort food that my siblings and I enjoyed so much when we were young, and the dish always brings back childhood memories.

One of the main ingredients in this dish, other than chicken, is coconut milk. I should emphasize that I use fresh coconut milk that I grate from the shell. Fresh coconut milk is so much more creamy and flavorful than the canned variety. This dish also contains a lemongrass stalk as well as an ingredient called asam gelugur, both of which add delicious flavors to the sauce.

Now let's take a look at the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into parts
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 2 shallots, pounded with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and crushed
  • 5-6 birds eye's chilies
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 pieces dried asam gelugur (Garcinia atroviridis)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt for taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, marinate the chicken parts with some turmeric powder and some salt. Set aside.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or a larger pan over high heat, fry the chicken parts until they are golden brown on both sides.
  3. Place the fried chicken in a bowl and set aside.
  4. With the same wok, saute the shallots and lemongrass until fragrant.
  5. Throw in the fried chicken into the mixture.
  6. Add the turmeric powder and give it a quick stir.
  7. Add the coconut milk and asam gelugur into the mixture. Use a spatula to stir the coconut milk with the chicken evenly. Let it simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the birds' eyes chilies and some salt. Don't forget to taste! If you like it spicy you can add more chilies.
  9. Let continue simmering for a few minutes and turn the heat off.
  10. Transfer to a serving bowl or plate and enjoy with steamed white rice.

Photo Tutorial

Saute the shallots and lemongrass until fragrant.
Saute the shallots and lemongrass until fragrant.
Throw in the fried chicken into the mixture.
Throw in the fried chicken into the mixture.
Add the turmeric powder and give it a quick stir.
Add the turmeric powder and give it a quick stir.
Add the coconut milk into the mixture.
Add the coconut milk into the mixture.
Transfer to a serving bowl or plate and enjoy with steamed white rice.
Transfer to a serving bowl or plate and enjoy with steamed white rice.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Liza

    Comments

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      • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

        Liza 

        5 months ago from USA

        Thank you so much, Liz!

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        5 months ago from UK

        This looks like a tasty recipe, complete with mouth-watering illustrations and clear instructions.

      • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

        Liza 

        5 months ago from USA

        You're most welcome :) I hope you will like the dish.

      • Jennifer Jorgenson profile image

        Jennifer Jorgenson 

        5 months ago

        Perfect thank you so much! I can't wait to try this dish.

      • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

        Liza 

        5 months ago from USA

        Hi Jennifer,

        I'm sorry I should have put more information about 'asam gelugur.' It is a type of plant species natively in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. It widely used in the traditional recipes in Malaysia. The one that I'm using is dried asam gelugur. Here is the link for you to look for more information for your reference. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garcinia_atroviridis

        Thanks for stopping by!

      • Jennifer Jorgenson profile image

        Jennifer Jorgenson 

        5 months ago

        I'm not familiar with asam gelugur. When I looked it up, it says pulverized acid. Could you give me an example of what you used for that? I'm guessing things like lemon or vinegar?

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