Rendang is curried and stewed meat dish, cooked with coconut milk, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves with other spices. The dish is braised for hours, depends on the type of meat used, till the oil and extract of all the ingredients are cooked out, which later act as natural preservatives. A well-cooked rendang dish can be stored up to days in room temperature, weeks in refrigerator and months in freezer. I did not make this up. This dish is prepared by using almost all spices available to Indonesian cooking.
Originated in Padang, West Sumatra, this dish has been adapted on other areas in Southeast Asia. Original Rendang Padang is dark brown in color, Rendang Java is yellow in color. The difference is in the base paste used.
Chicken rendang needs to be cooked for 1-2 hours. Beef rendang can take 2-4 hours. The longer the process, the better it taste. Rendang is at its best on the second and third day after cooking. The spices really settled and enriched the dish.
The recipe featured here is chicken rendang. Whole chicken is used and spice paste is made from scratch. There are many commercially packed rendang spices. They are easy to prepare, but to make the most out of it, add half of the spice ingredients I have here and you will have outstanding instant rendang. Serve with warm steamed rice. Or mop up the sauces with thick and crusty country bread.
For spice paste
100 g red chilies
65 g (12) shallots
25 g (6) cloves garlic
25 g (6) candlenut
10 g (1/8 cup) coriander seeds
4 dried chilies, soaked with hot water and pat dried
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp whole white pepper
1/4 fresh nutmeg
1,2 liter coconut milk, pressed and strained from 4 freshly grated coconut
1 turmeric leaf (alternatively, substitute with a pinch of turmeric powder)
3 kaffir lime leaves
10 salam leaves
4 stalks lemongrass, halved and pounded to release juice
50 g galangal, pounded to release juice
2 whole cardamom
1 star anise
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 kg chicken, cut into medium size pieces
1 medium size potatoes, peeled and quartered
Grind spices for paste until smooth
In a big heavy stainless steel pot, cook half of coconut milk, spice paste, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, salam leaf, lemongrass, galangal, cardamom, star anise and cloves over low heat for 10 minutes
Add sugar and salt. Increase heat to medium. Cook for 5 more minutes
Pour in the rest of coconut milk. Cook over medium heat for 1 hour, stirring constantly to avoid burning till the coconut oil starts to separate from the milk. The dish should be simmering slowly with small bubbles. Cover partly to avoid splatter
Toss in pieces of chicken. Cook for another hour. Season with more salt and sugar if desired. If potatoes are used, add potatoes at this stage. Cook for another half an hour
Serve warm with steamed rice or country bread
All spices are to be washed and dried before using. Galangal doesn't need to be peeled, scrubbed the peel till clean of dirt traces.
Also known as Rendang Ayam in Indonesian
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