A traditional Malay dish, Rendang is a specialized dry-ish curry that is made distinctive by adding dry-fried grated coconut towards the end of cooking time. It is made with chicken or beef (this takes an hour and a half at least to get tender) traditionally. You may experiment with ostrich, lamb, veal or duck, and make it as spicy as you like by varying the amount of chilli. Dried chillies can be purchased at Asian stores.
- 1 (800 g) whole chickens, whole chopped into 12 chicken thighs, and cutlets
- 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, dry-fried on medium-low heat till golden brown
- 4 -8 shallots, depending on size sliced (substitute 2 onions)
- 2 cm gingerroot, sliced
- 1 cm fresh galangal root (optional)
- 2 big red chilies, seeded and sliced
- 4 dried chilies, softened in hot water for 10 minutes (substitute 1 tsp chilli powder)
- 150 ml coconut cream
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or 1 tablespoon corn oil
- 2⁄3 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 stalks lemongrass, the fat part sliced, the remaining stalk trimmed and smashed lightly
- 3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 -1 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- Pulse the shallots, ginger, galangal root, chillies and sliced lemongrass, adding enough of coconut cream to make a thick paste.
- Heat oil in a thick-bottomed non-stick saucepan till medium hot. Stirfry the shallot paste for 2 minutes. Add turmeric and smashed lemongrass stalks. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add meat pieces. Stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- Add rest of coconut cream. Cook on medium-low heat till meat is done and quite tender, and curry sauce is very thick (you're lucky if the timing of both coincide!). Scrape bottom of pan every 2 minutes with spatula to ensure curry does not burn. If curry is getting dry before meat is tender, add a bit of water.
- Cooking time varies with size and cuts of meat. When curry is thick and almost dry, add fried dessicated coconut, brown sugar, salt and kaffir lime leaves. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with plain boiled rice, preferably jasmine or basmati variety. Yummm!