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Chicken Rendang (Rendang Ayam)

Chicken Rendang, or Rendang Ayam is a lip-smacking Indonesian dry curry that's loaded with tender chicken simmered with a spice paste and coconut milk until there's almost no sauce left. At this point, the remaining sauce is caramelize around the chicken along with roasted coconut to create an ultra-flavorful coating around each piece of chicken.
Course Entree
Cuisine Southeast Asian
Level Intermediate
Main Ingredient Poultry
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Calories 462 kcal


for spice paste

  • 100 grams shallots (20 Asian shallots peeled and chopped)
  • 30 grams galangal (1 1/2 inch piece peeled, sliced)
  • 30 grams lemongrass (~ 2 stalks, light part only, thinly sliced)
  • 20 grams ginger (peeled)
  • 3 tablespoons dried chili flakes (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (or 1 fresh turmeric root)

for rendang

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 25 grams garlic (4 large cloves, smashed)
  • 925 grams bone-in skin-on chicken legs (chopped into pieces)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (poured from the top of an unshaken can)
  • 20 grams coconut sugar (2 tablespoons)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves (sliced into very thin threads)
  • 3/4 cup grated unsweetened coconut 50 grams


  1. Put the shallots, galangal, lemongrass, ginger, chili flakes, salt and turmeric in a small food processor or blender and puree, adding a bare minimum of water as necessary to keep the paste spinning.
    The spices are pulverized into a paste that's used to give the Rendang Ayam flavor.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat and add the chicken, skin-side down and then add the garlic in the gaps between the chicken. Thoroughly brown the skin-side of the chicken and then transfer to a bowl.

    For the best Chicken Rendang, brown the chicken before caramelizing the spice paste.
  3. Add the spice paste to the pan you used to brown the chicken. Fry the spice paste until the paste is very thick, caramelized and fragrant. Stir-constantly to ensure even caramelization and to prevent the paste from burning to the pan.
    Caramelize the rendang spice paste to ensure your chicken rendang is ultra-flavorful.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan and add the coconut milk and coconut sugar. Adjust the heat down to maintain a gentle simmer and cook the chicken until it is tender, about 30 minutes. Be sure to stir the rendang regularly, especially towards the end as it will burn.
    Add coconut milk and return the chicken to the rendang sauce.
  5. If at this point you feel like there's too much oil, you can use a spoon to skim some off as it floats to the top.
    You can skim some of the oil off the rendang as the chicken cooks down.
  6. While the chicken cooks, add the grated coconut to a dry frying pan, and roast, stirring constantly until the coconut has browned and is very fragrant. Transfer the coconut to a bowl and set aside until the chicken is done.
    Kerisik, or roasted coconut is an essential component in Chicken Rendang.
  7. Once the chicken is tender and there is very little sauce remaining, turn up the heat to medium and add the toasted coconut and kaffir lime leaves.
  8. Stir-fry the rendang until the sauce has caramelized into a thick coating around the chicken (about 10 more minutes). Serve the Chicken Rendang with rice.
    Add the kerisik to the chicken rendang and fry until there is no sauce left.
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Rendang (Rendang Ayam)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 462 Calories from Fat 342
% Daily Value*
Fat 38g58%
Saturated Fat 24g120%
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 545mg23%
Potassium 519mg15%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 1265IU25%
Vitamin C 3.5mg4%
Calcium 48mg5%
Iron 3.6mg20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.