Chicken Rendang

Indonesian chicken rendang

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.

Rendang Chicken

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.

The making of chicken rendang


Chicken Rendang

Makes 6 servings


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

Other ingredients
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
3 cloves
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

Step by Step

Chicken rendang step by step

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31 Responses to “Chicken Rendang”

  1. 1

    Pepy @Indonesia Eats — July 10, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

    Many Indonesians don’t relish substituting the turmeric leaf for turmeric roots. The colour turns a bit too yellowish. I also prefer grind the lemongrass and galangal to have better flavour.

    Jun, wanna a trade? I still have my beef rendang in the fridge.

    • Jun replied: — July 13th, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

      I am obsessed with your beef rendang. Really really really, Pepy! Great tips on grinding lemongrass and galangal. Will try that soon

  2. 2

    Magic of Spice — July 10, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

    Love your site…And this dish looks amazing:)

    • Jun replied: — July 13th, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

      Thank you for dropping by!

  3. 3

    Beaulotus — July 10, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious. I must admit that I’ve always used ground turmeric root as I’ve never seen a turmeric leaf in my life (living as I do in Western Europe).

    And I agree with you that we can use instant pastes, but that it’s always good to enrich them with a few fresh whole spices. It does make a difference to the final result.

    I’m curious to see if the rendang can really keep that long at room temperature (that could be useful as I always lack space in the fridge). It has never lasted more than 2 days in my household for me to find out…

    • Jun replied: — July 13th, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

      Turmeric leaf has very subtle smell of turmeric. Just a faint hint. I haven’t been cooking that long to know what it is used for actually.

      That must be one yummy rendang you have to be gone in such a short time! But it does taste better the next day, doesn’t it.

  4. 4

    MaryMoh — July 11, 2010 @ 5:06 am

    Mmmm…I love rendang….soooooo good with coconut rice. Your dish makes me hungry! I cook beef rendang sometimes but have not tried with chicken. I have to try that…not as time consuming.

    • Jun replied: — July 13th, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

      Yes it really cooks much faster. Beef rendang still rocks though :) But if you don’t have time to braise for hours and hours, chicken rendang is just as good

  5. 5

    tigerfish — July 15, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

    Your rendang looks just the right consistency. Not too dry and not overly laden with thin gravy. So perfect!

    • Jun replied: — July 16th, 2010 @ 5:04 am

      Thank you, Tigerfish. The consistency of the rendang is easily achieved by reserving some diluted coconut milk. Add more during the end of the cooking time if thinner rendang is preferred.

  6. 6

    mycookinghut — July 18, 2010 @ 8:50 am

    I love rendang.. something that I can have for lunch and dinner without getting bored..

    • Jun replied: — July 20th, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

      Me too! And I am always very sorry when they are all gone. It takes a while to cook … :)

  7. 7

    Cynthia — January 14, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    ive decided to make this recipe of yours but substitute the chicken to beef. although i dont have all the same exact ingredients, i managed to look for substitute, after 6 long hours of waiting.. finally its done and it tastes exactly like rendang in indo.. i feel so much closer to home!

    btw one question : do we need as much coconut milk for making this but with beef?

    thanks a lot !!! :)

    • Jun replied: — January 15th, 2011 @ 1:08 am

      I am so glad you finally made this! This is by far my most favorite rendang recipe! We don’t cook beef at home, but I am dying to try cooking beef rendang.

      And yes, I just called the owner of a Nasi Padang restaurant who gave me this recipe. One kg meat to coconut milk from 4 coconuts. That is one kg of meat would need 1.2 kg coconut milk.

  8. 8

    Chicken Rendang — March 16, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    [...] Indochine Kitchen [...]

  9. 9

    TourDeFoodBlog — March 17, 2011 @ 12:58 am

    Hola from Thailand! I would like to thank you for a great recipe! My take on chicken rendang was wonderful and really succulent. I blogged about it today and I made sure to give a reference/credit to you.

    By the way, I really love your website. Very nice layout and stunning pictures indeed. My blog, though, is in Thai. I hope you could come by and see. A comment from a blogger to another would be awesome :)

    • Jun replied: — March 17th, 2011 @ 10:47 am

      Thank you for linking back. It looks totally gorgeous! I wish I read Thai!

  10. 10

    Christina Preciado — July 12, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

    Hi, after a year of want to make this I finally did, and it was wonderful. I did substitute rabbit for chicken, and with a little longer cooking was a beautiful result. Many times I watched my Oma make this dish with beef, but I never got all the ingredients entirely. She passed last year and I now will be able to make this many times. I was surprised to find it to be a very simple recipe, only entailed patiently waiting for the finished dish.

  11. 11

    Vanessa — July 28, 2011 @ 8:45 am

    hey jun. I love rendang but im yet to make on my own. I went through many rendang recipes but only amazed by yours. Im planning to make my own now. Im a little confuse, why most of the other rendang recipes grated coconut is used? What difference does it make? Thank u

  12. 12

    Sonja Adcock — November 20, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    Hi, I am posting from Canada. Friends are having an “Indonesian rijsttafel” next week. I know very little about Indonesian cooking, so as I googled it, I stumbled on to your recipe, which by the way is being made right now (need to test run it before I make it for the party). I have a couple of questions….the recipe indicates 100gm of red chilies. I bought about 30 and that only amounted to about 40gm….I ended up only using 10 as I think more than that is going to be just far to spicy. Might be just me, but after taking a tiny taste about an hour ago, I still feel the spiciness.

    Do you grind the whole spices (coriander and pepper) before making the spice paste? I didn’t and perhaps it’s my food processer, but I still had whole spiceds so I will strain it before adding the chicken. Also, I guess the redness of the paste is from all those chilies? Mine, although it is smelling divine, is kinda yellow?

    I somehow don’t think mine is going to look like your pictures, but by the smell of it, it will taste fantastic.


    • Jun replied: — November 20th, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

      Sonja, the amount of chili used will affect the color dish. If you use less, the color will be less intense. It might help to reduce spiciness if you remove all the seeds in the chili used. If yours starts out as yellow, the longer you cook, the more orange-ish it will become. Mine starts with bright red, then become brownish.

      Yeah I grind all whole spices (except cinnamon stick etc) with mortar and pestle. Don’t bother to remove the spices, as the flavor will continue to develop on standing, even after cooking.

      Good luck with your rijsttafel event!

  13. 13

    Tini — January 24, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    Thank you for posting the Rendang recipe! I love your blogs!

    I have a tiny questions…..
    Before I get started, if I decided not to add the potatoes, do I still simmer the broth for an hour and then add the chicken?

    I just wanted to make sure if I add the chicken in the beginning will the meat get tough?

    Thank you in advance!

  14. 14

    Desson Ginting — February 9, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    Mejuah-juah! Rendang, hmmmm…. the best tasting food in the world… really… I didn’t make this up (see:,2). Great job Jun. Keep it up :)

  15. 15

    Selfridges — July 4, 2012 @ 11:06 pm


    I am kinda confused here:

    “Pour in the rest of coconut milk and potato. 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”

    You type pour in coconut milk and potato and then 1 hr.

    Then chicken and one hour.

    Then you type again potatoes after chicken.

    So shd it be chicken 1st then potatoes or potatoes 1st then chicken.

    Thanks :) .

    • Jun replied: — July 14th, 2012 @ 10:08 am

      I have revised the instructions. Silly me. Thank you for pointing it out!

  16. 16

    Jess — October 24, 2012 @ 4:20 am

    Hi I am wondering if I can cook chicken rendang in a slow cooker? And how long would you suggest? Thanks!

    • Jun replied: — October 24th, 2012 @ 9:03 am

      I have never tried using slow cooker nor heard anyone attempt that before. I would think that rendang dishes need to be cooked in open pot and stirred every now and then.

  17. 17

    Jeanny — November 8, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

    Oh i am starting to ‘google’ your web almost everyweek just to find some recipe that can be fun to try and delicious! semuanya enakkkkkkkkk (enak diliat enak dimakan)ga enak dibikin:) anyway… fotonya bikin ngecessss:) thanks for the recipe :) gue bakal coba yang rendang! kemaren coba ayam panggang aihhhhhh sedap:) hehehehehe ;) thanks ya

  18. 18

    Mara — September 1, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

    Need some clarification – does this recipe include cinnamon stick? Because in one of your responses you state you use a mortar and pestle to grind your spices, with the exception of cinnamon.

  19. 19

    Comfort Blissful Blog — February 4, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

    my favourite dish but never make it from scratch.bravo

  20. 20

    how to cook rendang chicken | Share Free — October 23, 2014 @ 11:03 am

    [...] Indochine kitchen ยป chicken rendang 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. [...]

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