Rendang needs no introduction amongst Malaysians. Famously known as one of the authentic Malay dishes, it has now paved its way to almost every hook and corner of Malaysia, and abroad for that matter. Every household across ethnicity in Malaysia knows how to make this slow-cooked coconut milk laden recipe, particularly for Eid and festive occasions.
Including our household.
There are tonnes of variety for rendang recipes; also a variety in the choice of meat used. I personally prefer beef rendang more than the chicken version. Alas, on days that I could not bring myself to stir for hours by the hob (which is required for beef rendang) I would resort to making chicken rendang instead. It still takes couple of hours, mind. Having lived all my adult life in the UK, whenever I miss some proper Malaysian food, I would recreate it in my own kitchen without using too many exotic ingredients. as I could rarely find them! This chicken rendang fits the bill. I have tweaked it over and over again to get the same authentic taste with minimal time and ingredients required. This recipe is a real winner .The only two ‘exotic’ ingredients in this recipe are lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves; omit those and what you will get is still the same tasty randang, albeit without its original aroma.
Ah, before I forget and lure you into false sense of ease, rendang requires a ‘magic’ ingredient that must be added into the cooking, otherwise, it will never be a rendang! Run all your might from the ‘british-version rendang’ recipes seen on BBC-unless if the recipe mentions the word ‘kerisik’, then and only then you could trust the recipe to be authentic. So yes, kerisik, or easily translated as dry roasted dessicated coconut is what makes the rendang thick (pun intended!).
That beautiful golden hue, achieved after laborious dry roasting of dessicated coconut, that is what you need for a delicious rendang. The next step is to pulse this kerisk into an almost fine powder before it is added into the rendang. If you think this is too much hassle for a plate of good dish, there is good news. This kerisik can be stored well in the fridge for months, so make a batch and you are good to go whenever your craving calls for this delicious dish.
I am pleased to find out that there is a virtual Malaysian get-together called Muhibbah Malaysian Monday-what a great way to promote Malaysian food, especially for those who live far away from home sweet home. Kudos to the event hosts, Sharon fromTestwithSkewer and the co-host, 3hungrytummies. Without further ado, may I tempt the Malaysian foodie lovers out there with this delicious yet easy rendang, enjoy!
EasyPeasy Chicken Rendang
serves 4-5 people
800g chicken-cut into small pieces (preferably with bones)
1 bulb garlic
1 inch galangal
4 dry red chillies-soaked in hot water
2 inch ginger
1 tbsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp turmeric
2 stalks lemon grass-only the white part, pound slightly
3-4 kaffir lime leaves
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1. Prepare the kerisik by dry roasting the dessicated coconut until they become golden hue, and aromatic. Pulse in the food processor until it becomes find powder. Set aside.
2. Blend the shallot, ginger, garlic, pepper, turmeric, galangal and dry chillies to form a paste.
3. Heat the oil. Fry the spice paste until it separates from the oil. Add in the lemon grass , kaffir lime leaves and washed chicken pieces. Fry for few minutes.
4. Add the coconut milk and reduce the heat to low. Let the chicken simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the wok/pan.
5. After about an hour, the chicken would be almost cooked and tender. At this point, add in the kerisik (dry roasted dessicated coconut), salt and sugar. Let it simmer for few more minutes. Add in more coconut milk if the gravy becomes too dry.
6. The rendang is ready when the colour of the gravy changes from pasty pink to almost golden brown, and the chicken is tender.