Malaysian Chicken Curry (Rendang)

chicken-rendang copyIf you like coconut you will love this very simple chicken curry. It’s very fragrant and rich, but very easy to prepare. The chicken is cooked in the coconut milk, so no frying is necessary. Rendang is usually a dry curry but I like to make mine a little juicier, by keeping the sauce more runny.


  • 1 kg chicken thighs, without skin and bone, cut in half
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 4 small yellow onion, chopped
  • one thumb size piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, 2 of which bruised and chopped (soft parts only),
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 5 Tbs sunflower oil
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • salt to taste


In a large wok or saucepan, sautee the dessicated coconut over medium heat, stirring, until its nicely toasted and golden. Put coconut in a blender and blitz to a paste (it’s ok if its not super smooth). Put paste in a bowl until needed.

Now, in the same blender, add the onions, ginger, garlic, the 2 chopped lemongrass stalks and red chillies. Blitz until they become a smooth paste.

Heat the sunflower oil in a wok or large saucepan (use the same pan you toasted the coconut) over medium-high heat. Add the paste you just blended and sautee stirring for a couple of minutes, until fragrant and soft. Add ½ cup of coconut milk and stir to mix. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat in the paste and coconut milk. Pour in the remaining coconut milk and let mixture boil. Reduce the heat to simmering. Bruise the remaining 2 lemongrass stalks and add to the curry without chopping them. Let their green parts stick out of the pot while the bruised part is in the curry. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remove the whole lemongrass stalks and discard. Finally add the toasted coconut paste, stir and serve with basmati rice. Garnish with crispy fried onions.

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