Indonesian cuisine has always been influential in Thai cooking. One of the more popular Indonesians dishes in Thailand and throughout Asia is Rendang Chicken or Beef Curry. Personally, I prefer this chicken version simply because the meat always turns out so tender compared to the beef. Note that Rendang is considered a "dry" curry, which means the sauce is simmered down to a minimum. Because it is so distilled, the sauce sticks to the meat, making this dish one of the most flavorful I have ever tried. And its wide variety of spices make it extremely healthy. If you like your curry with an abundance of flavor, you'll love Rendang!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- 1 whole chicken, cut into small to medium-size pieces (OR the equivalent of chicken pieces)
- 1/2 can good-quality coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. fresh finely chopped lemongrass (can also be purchased frozen at Asian food stores)
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger)
- 1-3 red chilies, depending on how hot you like your curry (de-seeded if less heat is desired) OR 1/3 to 3/4 tsp dry chili flakes
- 3/4 Tbsp. tamarind paste
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tsp. dark soy sauce
- 4 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 heaping Tbsp. ground coriander
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 1 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar at Asian food stores) OR substitute 1 Tbsp. more fish sauce
- optional: 2 whole star anise (available at Asian food stores)
- GARNISH (optional):
- fresh coriander leaves
- dry shredded coconut
- Place all sauce ingredients - except whole star anise - in a food processor. Process well to form a thick curry paste or sauce. If you don't have a food processor, simply chop onion and herbs finely and combine with the coconut milk, spices, and other ingredients. These herbs and spices can also be ground together with a pestle & mortar.
- Do a taste test for salt and spice, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough. If not spicy enough, add more fresh chili, or chili sauce. If too sour, add a little more brown sugar.
- Place sauce in a wok or large, deep-sided frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken (or beef) pieces, plus the whole star anise, and stir well.
- Continue stirring occasionally as you bring the curry to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer. Do not cover the wok/frying pan, as you want the sauce to reduce and become thicker.
- Allow the curry to simmer (stirring occasionally) for up to one hour, or until meat is cooked and tender. The sauce will reduce, so that it is almost like a coating on the meat (plus there will be a little sauce leftover in the wok/pan).
- Serve directly from the wok/pan, or place the curry on a serving plate (with any extra sauce poured over). Garnish with a sprinkling of shredded coconut and fresh coriander (fresh chives work too, as in the picture). Serve hot with Thai jasmine-scented rice, or Easy Thai Coconut Rice.