Thursday, July 18, 2013
Traditional Chicken Rendang
On our way hunting for breakfast two days ago, my wife suddenly craved to eat rendang ayam (or chicken rendang) and asked me to cook. Any particular reason? I have no idea. What I could think of, it's probably due to the Ramadan month fever (fasting month for the Muslims) where food bazaars, displaying all kinds of traditional Malay food and snacks are prominent at almost every nook and cranny of the town. As the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festival (a new year festival celebrated by the Muslims after observing a-month long of fasting period) is fast approaching, the smell of ketupats and rendangs, which are synonymous to the celebration begins to fill the festive air.
So, immediately after breakfast we headed to the nearby market to get the ingredients needed. As soon as wife got down from the car, I remained in and started googling for the recipe on my mobile phone. After just a few clicks, I caught sight on this particular one here and bingo! Barely 10 minutes, we were already in the car heading back home.
steamed rice, ketupat (a compressed rice cake), or lemang (glutinous rice barbecued in bamboo tubes). It is a must-have dish in every Malay house during Hari Raya Aidilfitri festival.
Interestingly, in 2011, an online poll by 35,000 people held by CNN International chose Rendang as the number one dish of their 'World's 50 Most Delicious Food' list. Wow, what a revelation!
Cooking rendang is time-consuming and requires patience. The meat pieces are slowly cooked in coconut milk and spices at precisely the right temperature until almost all the liquid is gone. The slow cooking process allows the meat to absorb all the spices and to become tender. The generous use of numerous spices makes rendang to have a complex and unique taste.
So, here it goes.......
500g chicken, chopped (or mutton, beef, cubed)
3 potatoes, quartered
4 cloves garlic
2 stalks lemon grass/serai, smashed for flavour
1 cm ginger
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
sugar to taste
lots of pepper
1 tsp chili paste or 3 fresh chilies
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 cup coconut milk
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 turmeric leaf
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup pounded kerisik (dry roasted dessicated coconut that is golden brown and very fragrant)
1) Blend onion, garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric and chili paste until smooth.
2) Heat oil in wok and add blended mixture. Stir fry for 5 minutes or until paste separates from the oil.
3) Add chicken and potatoes. Then, stir fry for 5 minutes.
4) Add kaffir lime leaves and turmeric leaf together with coconut milk and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes or until meat is tender, adding a bit more coconut milk as necessary to keep sauce from drying and burning.
5) Add the coconut kerisik when the meat is almost tender, like 10 minutes before finish.
Hope this recipe will fire your taste bud, just like how it did on mine!