When the aroma of rendang is all over the place, you can definitely smell a big occasion is around the corner. Rendang is usually served in Malaysia, probably Singapore and Indonesia for a special event such as eid day, for a wedding feast or when we have a special guest at home.
The spicy and very rich with coconut flavor , the slow cooking method make this spicy meat dish is so special and taste like home if you are abroad.
The wonderful smell , tumeric leaves and lime (kefir) leaves create.. absolutely appetizing and refreshing. It could make anyone drooling for rendang even more. Regardless of it’s origin, which I really am unsure, rendang can be enjoyed by anyone who loves spicy foods.
As for us, far away from home…. Rendang doesn’t have to be served only on a special event. When we feel like eating our home country cooking, rendang is one of the best dishes we don’t want to miss out.
Everybody can make rendang special on their own way. The one I made is the style I grew up with and that’s my grandma’s. The style my grandma makes is rendang tok and that’s what we call up in North Malaysia. I honestly could not tell the different between the North’s style and the South’s one. All I really know , I love my grandma’s rendang and I made mine close to her’s ,not exactly for sure.
Rendang Tok(Chicken) -(Serves 5-6 people)
- 2 whole chickens , cut into 6 pieces each, obtain 12 pieces
- 2 cup thick coconut milk (See Notes)
- 1/3 cup coconut paste (kerisik) ( See Notes)
- 3 Tablespoons palm sugar
- 2 Asam gelugor
- 5 kefir leaves or lime leaves (daun limau purut)
- 2 tumeric leaves ( if available)
- 2 Tablespoons match stick sliced fresh ginger
- Salt to taste
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
Into a blender:
- 15 dried red chili , soaked in hot water and drained
- 2 large yellow onions , cut into a quarter
- 3 Tablespoons diced fresh ginger root
- 4 stalks lemongrass
- 2 Tablespoons sliced galangal
- 3 candlenuts ( buah keras) [optional]
- 1 Tablespoons coriander seeds }
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds } ground in a mortar
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds} until fine
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper seeds}
- 2 star anise}
-Blend thoroughly to form a spice paste.
1. In a large bowl, Marinate the chicken with the blended paste and half of coconut milk. For about 45 minutes , at least. The longer the better.
2. After marinating, prepare a big wok. Heat the wok on low heat.
- Using wok is better than a pot. Why? A wok has wider opening helps evaporate the liquid faster . A wok has ideal searing surface and evenly hot all over heats more food’s molecules , increases rate of transmission.
- If a pot is all you have, just go ahead use it. It is just more time needed.
3. Drizzle the oil and let it heated.
4. Pour in the marinated chicken and the paste into the heated wok. Let the chicken half cooked.
5. Heat the oven to 400F. Transfer the chicken on a baking sheet. And bake in the oven until brown. While waiting the chicken in the oven, for the spice gravy (the one that remains in the wok), turn the heat low and let it continue to cook..
- Baking the chicken is only optional, you may want to skip the step if you don’t mind of getting slightly mushy meat instead solid chunk at the end.
- If cubed beef, lamb or mutton is used, skip the step.
6. Return the browned chicken into the wok. Turn back the heat medium-low,Let it continue to cook with the spices.
7. When the gravy starts to thicken and the oil separated and appears on top, toss in the remaining of the ingredients; brown sugar/palm sugar, salt , coconut paste (kerisik), kefir leaves (daun limau purut) , sliced ginger root and asam gelugur. Adjust sugar and salt to taste.
8. Keep stirring , every minute to avoid burn on the bottom. Pour the rest of coconut milk.
9. Continue stirring until almost all liquid is vaporized and incorporated well with the meat and spices. At this point, the rendang will look dark and pasty with chunk of meat ( chicken) .
10. Ready to serve with rice, pulut kuning (steamed glutinous rice) and etc.