Curried-Coconut Chicken Rendang


Rendang is a Malaysian meat dish that's slow-cooked in coconut milk. Zang Toi makes his with chicken thighs flavored with an intensely fragrant ginger-chile paste; it can also be made with beef, shrimp, or vegetables.

Curried-Coconut Chicken Rendang
Photo: © Michael Turek
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


  • 3 tablespoons Madras curry powder

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bottom two-thirds, bruised and cut into 4-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • Salt

  • 3 pounds chicken thighs

  • 8 small shallots

  • 1 small red onion, quartered

  • 5 garlic cloves

  • Six 1/4-inch slices of peeled fresh ginger

  • 3 macadamia nuts

  • 5 dried Asian chiles, stemmed

  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted


  1. In a bowl, combine the curry powder, pepper, lemongrass, lime juice and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season with salt. Add the chicken, turn to coat and refrigerate for 4 hours.

  2. In a food processor, puree the shallots, onion, garlic, ginger, nuts and chiles.

  3. In a deep skillet, heat the remaining 1/3 cup of oil. Fry the chile paste over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken with its marinade and cook over moderate heat until the chicken is browned and nearly cooked through, about 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk, sugar and toasted coconut and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, until the chicken is tender and the sauce is very thick, about 25 minutes. Spoon off as much oil as possible and discard the lemongrass. Season with salt and serve.

Make Ahead

The rendang can be refrigerated for 2 days. Rewarm before serving.

Serve With

Steamed jasmine rice and sautéed green beans.

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