Kitchen by TILAH

Masala Chicken (Ayam Masala)

One of the things that I really hate going through after being a Mum is heartbreak whenever I had to leave for work in the morning and my two babies were crying for me.  Being the emotional person that I always am, I felt so choked in my throat and my feet felt heavy.  I think my feet must have felt heavier than my "SUPER"model sized body.  It doesn't happen everyday but when it did happen, it really spoiled my morning. 

There were times when Sayf just waved happily and blew kisses at me as I was leaving whereas Suhaym just looked on with a smile that made his chubby cheeks puffed up and lifted his arm attempting to wave me goodbye.  That really made my day.  Then there were the times when Sayf (whose full name is Sayf Ahmad, prefers to call himself by his second name Ahmad) asked me if I was going to work the moment he woke up from sleep.  I knew that the tantrums were coming once I replied him with a "yes".  So it did this morning.  He started crying and said in Malay, "Ummi, taknak pergi work!  Ahmad nak ikut Ummi.  Ahmad nak tengok cartoon dengan Ummi! Please Ummi!"  In direct English translation would be, "Don't go to work Ummi!  Ahmad wants to go with you! Ahmad wants to watch cartoon with you! Please!"  My heart broke.  It broke into tiny little pieces. Once Sayf started crying, Suhaym would just follow suit.  He wanted to fight for my attention as well and started reaching out his arms for me.  Oh God!  

I really wish my babies could understand that I would love to be a stay at home Mum but with the recent move into our new flat and with the financial commitments that my husband and I have, I would have to work for at least a few more years before I could even consider working from home.  It is not really easy to make a living in Singapore with the high cost of living and we would not be able to save enough for the kids if my husband is the only one working in the family. 

Precious moments and milestones that I missed whilst I am at work were indeed moments lost forever.  Sacrifices that I have to make for the sake of my children.  Some day, when I am old or gone and when both my babies get to read this blog (well I have to first make sure that I instill some cooking interest in the both of them!), they will know how much I love them. How much it means to me to have been able to spend each and every moment with them.  How much it hurt, when I was away from them.  Of course, there were moments when I just thank God that they both finally went kapoot after they had enough of me and were napping away whilst I get to enjoy my ice-cream in peace!  Then, there were also moments when I really wished that there was some cupboard or drawer somewhere that I can just lock the both of them in for some while because I was the one who was about to go kapoot!  Hehe... ;p.  Anyway and anyhow, I love them both with every beat of my heart.  I would never have it any other way. 

Ok, now I shall make myself happy and talk about cooking!  Yesterday, life was back to normal for me.  I think I have fully recovered.  I am full of energy.  I wanted to cook something spicy and heaty enough for my body just to keep asthma at bay and at the same time satisfying my robust appetite.  The moment I knew what I had wanted to cook in mind, I called home and asked my kitchen-ing assistant to prep whatever I need so that I can get cracking the moment I reached home from work. As usual, I had messed with my recipe again.  I cooked Masala Chicken!  It is basically dry curry with a more spicy touch.  I usually cook Masala Chicken in the same way that I had cooked Masala Beef except that I added star anises in addition to the other spices and I always fry the chicken pieces first.  You can check out the Masala Beef recipe HERE.   This time however, I decided to make some tweaking to the recipe.  This is what happens when I get adventurous.  Thank God the taste was great.  Phew!  Well, really, this is not self-praise.  My husband said so and yes, it is his honest opinion.  Truly, his feelings for me has got totally nothing to do with it.  I swear by the moon and the stars in the skies!  Heehee... ;)


*Note that spoon herein refers to 10ml volume and tablespoon refers to 20ml volume

12 – 16 pieces of chicken parts – marinated with 2 tablespoons turmeric powder and salt to taste – fried till cooked and set aside
5 potatoes – peeled and sliced about ½ cm thick – fried and set aside
3 green chillies – slit in halves and cut into twos
1 lemon grass – cut into two and crushed
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
1 heaping teaspoon of garam masala powder
3 tablespoonsful of meat curry powder
1 spoonful of red chilli powder
1 teaspoonful tomato puree
2 tablespoonsful of full cream yogurt
1 spoonful of sugar
1 teaspoonful of Ajinamoto (optional)
1 stick cinnamon
4 cardamoms
4 cloves
2 star anises
a handful of mint leaves - chopped (about 12 pieces)
a handful of coriander leaves with stems - chopped (about 3-4 stems)
2 tomatoes - quartered
a handful of fried shallots
2 glasses of water
1 tablespoonful of ghee
2 tablespoonful of cooking oil from chicken frying
salt to taste

(**Items to be blended in a food processor with a little of water to form a paste)
3 large onions**
9 garlics**
3 cm ginger**


1.  Heat up oil from chicken frying together with ghee in a non stick deep based pan.  Once heated, add in the cinnamon stick, cardamoms, cloves and star anises.  Saute for a few seconds.

2.  Add in the crushed lemon grass.  Saute for another few seconds.

3.  Add in the blended ingredients.  Saute until fragrant.  Yes, you will be able to smell the fragrance :).

4.  Add in the meat curry powder, chilli powder, fennel powder and garam masala powder.  Saute for about a minute.

5.  Add in the tomato puree and about half a glass of water.  Saute until the sauteing mix is dried.

6.  Once the mix is dried, add in the full cream yogurt.  Give a good stir.

7.  Add in the green chillies, the chopped mint leaves and coriander leaves.

8.  Add in sugar, salt to taste and Ajinamoto, if you prefer.  Add in the remaining 1 and a 1/2 glass of water.  Give a good stir again.

9.  Bring fire to medium and cover your pan and let cook for ten minutes.

10.  Take off cover, give a stir and do a taste check.  Season accordingly, if necessary.

11.  Add in the fried chicken pieces and fried potatoes slices.  Fold them into the masala gravy till well coated.

12.  Add in the cut tomatoes.

13.  Add in the fried shallots.

14.  Fold them in to thoroughly combine the ingredients and let simmer for about a minute.

15.  Off fire and serve.

Enjoy with white rice, white bread, pilaf or biryani and have a blast!  Happy Kitchen-ing!


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