Hed Chef

Chicken Rendang: Not too rich, just as tasty

Chicken rendang that is rich without being overly oily. PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - There are recipes which I return to because the wonderful flavours remind me of the people who have shared them with me.

Here is a recipe for chicken rendang. It is adapted from a rendang padang recipe I learnt from the late Madam Tumiar Simandijuntak, who belonged to the Batak ethnic group.

The best part of her recipe is that it is not oily or overly rich.

I chose a chicken rendang to cater to friends who do not eat beef.

Also, the cooking time is much shorter.

I recommend using kampung chicken because it is lean and the meat is well-suited to stewing with spices.

Chicken Rendang


5 buah keras (20g candlenuts)
2 stalks of lemongrass (60g), use 5cm of the white part only, finely sliced
40g ginger, finely chopped
40g galangal, finely chopped
30g turmeric root, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves (40g)
12 shallots (220g)
12 dried chillies (15g), boil until soft
3 red finger chillies (55g), sliced
6 chilli padi (15g), sliced
80ml cooking oil
1 kampung chicken (1.2kg), cut into large pieces (7cm by 8cm)
2 stalks of lemongrass, bruised
3 cloves
1 star anise
400ml coconut cream
300ml water
2 pieces of asam keping (sour fruit)
8 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 turmeric leaf, torn
1 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp assam jawa (tamarind pulp)
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp saTt
1 level tbsp sugar
100g kerisik (toasted grated coconut)


1. Use a grinder to grind the buah keras, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, dried chillies, red finger chillies and chilli padi into a paste. If using a blender, add up to 150ml of water to help its blades rotate smoothly.

2. Heat the wok on medium heat and add the oil. Heat for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and gently add in the spice paste. Stir and turn on the heat to low.

3. Over low heat, fry the mixture for around 15 to 20 minutes until it becomes a thick paste and the oil surfaces.

4. Add in the chicken pieces and stir-fry for 5 minutes until the chicken is coated with the spice paste.


5. Add in the bruised lemongrass, cloves and star anise.

6. Pour in the coconut cream and water.

7. Add the asam keping, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric leaf and ground coriander.

8. In a small bowl, mix the assam jawa (tamarind pulp) and 2 tablespoons of water. Strain the mixture and add the tamarind juice to the chicken.

9. Stir and simmer covered for 45 minutes, stirring often, until chicken is cooked through and tender.

10. Season with salt and add the sugar.

11. Add in the kerisik.

12. Stir through. Serve hot.

Yields six servings.

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