Rendang is traditionally prepared by the Malaysian and Indonesian community during festive occasions such as traditional ceremonies. Rendang is rich in spices. Along with the main meat ingredient, rendang uses coconut milk (Minangkabau: Karambia) and a paste of mixed ground spices, which includes ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemon grass, garlic, shallot, chilli and other spices. This spice mixture is called pemasak in Minangkabau. The spices garlic, shallot, ginger and galangal used in rendang have antimicrobial properties and serve as natural organic preservatives.
How to use: You can use this paste for all meat.
Net weight per pack: 250g
This dish is about stewing meat in a rich spicy coconut based gravy for hours and until the meat is soft and tender (its fiber can be pulled apart easily).
Normally people will cook it with beef; however this dish is suitable for chicken, beef or any meat that you prefer. Normally this dish is simmered for hours or until the meat is tender, but you cook it in 30 minutes with the ready-made paste.
I use chicken fillet for this dish, so it is quicker to cook and tastes really really good. The meat will shrink a little, so cut the fillet into cubes.
Note: The aromatic smell of the kerisik is the heart of this dish! However, according to my taste buds, it’s the kaffir lime leaves.
So what is kerisk?
“Kerisik” is a Malaysian/Malay word meaning toasted grated coconut that’s pounded with mortar and pestle into oily submission, and it smells heavenly:)
In the olden days we got the fresh grated coconut from the local market or we grated the coconut ourselves. However, it is harder to get fresh grated coconut here, so we use fine dry desiccated coconut from our local store. Place 30g in the pan or wok, slowly flip the coconut around on low heat (for about 5-10 minutes) until golden brown (not burnt), and you can start smelling the aroma. *Make sure you stir constantly to prevent burning.
The reason we use “fine” desiccated coconut is so we do not need to pound or blend the kerisik. Easy isn’t it? If possible, prepare more kerisik and freeze it.
Oil – For this recipe, I do not use oil when cooking this dish. But you can add 2 Tbsp oil when frying the paste and meat. If you prefer, you can marinade the meat with the paste for a few hours or overnight.
OK, now let’s create magic with this rendang sauce.
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil (optional)
- 1kg chicken thigh fillet – cut into fine pieces (faster cooking). If you intend to simmer longer, then cut them into larger cubes.
- 1 packet of readymade Little Nonya Beef Rendang Paste 250g (note, ignore the word beef on the packaging, it is just a paste. So add any meat you like.)
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional) – The paste does not have chilli added to it.
- 4 kaffir lime leaves or powder
- 100ml coconut milk
- 200-300 ml water
- Salt (optional)
- Lime juice (optional)
- Prepare your kerisk and set aside.
- Add the paste in a pan together with the chicken pieces and “saute” for 10 minutes, until the meat is half cooked and oil is oozing out of the paste. Stir constantly.
- Add kaffir lime leaves (whole) or powder and coconut milk. You can add chilli to this paste if you prefer it spicy hot.
- Add water. Once the dish is covered with water, lower the heat to medium. Close the lid of the work/pan and simmer or stew for about 20 minutes or until liquid is reduced.
- Gently stir the ingredients every 2-3 minutes to make sure the ingredients are cooked evenly and do not stick onto the pan/wok.
- Add kerisik to the rendang gravy.
- Continue stirring for another 5-10 minutes until gravy is thick and reduced.
- Add salt or lime to taste (optional).
- Granish with kaffir lime leaves or powder and serve with rice.
When water and paste are added, the dish is quite watery. Simmer until the dish is dry-ish.
Because we use chicken, the cooking time is less. If you choose to cook with beef, allow another 15 minutes or longer for simmering.
Some recipes do not use kaffir lime leaves, but I think it really brings out the flavour more.
Do try it and enjoy this amazing rendang dish.
Let me know how you go with it.
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