Chicken Rendang – Malaysian Chicken curry

I am now squinting through my puffed up, watery, half sized eyes as I write this post. I’ve caught Madras Eye (conjunctivitis) and a whole lot of other things on the side as well. Fever, horribly painful sore throat and chills in the evening. I’ve not felt this weak and sick in a long time. I’ve returned to work today after 2 days of sick leave (the only nice thing about this whole sickness thing, I got to  spend a lot of time with Hasini and Yuvi) and I feel slightly better than the past few days. I’d wanted to post this Chicken Rendang right after Pongal because Chicken rendang uses whole turmeric and turmeric leaves and during Pongal we use these turmeric plants (the leaves and all) in the pooja. 

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And it is only during this time of the year that I’ve seen them in markets in Chennai. They may be available at other times, I don’t know. If they are, then you should definitely try this recipe for Chicken Rendang. I noted this down from the “Taste off” show on TLC the rare day when I fought off Jagan and the kids for the TV remote. Actually I think the kids were asleep that day and Jagan was on his phone. Anyways, I got a rare chance to watch a cookery show and me being a sucker for curries, I noted this down as soon as I saw it.
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I made this right after Pongal but never got around to posting this. The Rendang made a wonderful side with parotta – fresh, spicy and flavourful. I used the fresh turmeric sparingly as fresh whole turmeric is extremely pungent. You could break up a small piece of it and check. The original recipe called for much more if I remember right but I wasn’t taking chances. You’ll be using the leaves as well. The turmeric leaves are not as strong as say the lemon leaves you use in the Thai curries but they add a mild flavour. You could chop up those turmeric leaves and drop a few of them while the curry is simmering to turn up the flavour some more. 

You’ll be seeing a lot more delayed, postponed un-seasonal, in-appropriate recipes in the coming days as I catch up with my blogging.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Chicken – half a kilo cleaned, cut into medium chunks
Coconut milk – about 2 cups extracted from 1 big coconut
Salt to taste
Oil – 3 tbsp
Ingredients – Wet Masala
Whole Turmeric – 1 inch piece, scraped and chopped roughly
Shallots – 5 peeled
Turmeric leaves – 3 tbsp chopped
Lemon grass – 3 tbsp chopped
Ingredients – Dry spice mix
Whole dry red chillies – 10
Coriander seeds – 1-1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Whole black peppercorns – 1-1/2 tsp
Method
1.      Dry roast the whole spices on a tawa till they’re fragrant and toasted. Remove, let cool slightly and then grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
2.      Grind together the ingredients under “wet masala” adding a little water to a paste. Set aside.
3.      In a kadai heat oil. Then add the chicken pieces and sear till they’re starting to brown around the edges. Then add the ground wet masala and the dry spice mix. Season with salt and mix well so all the chicken is evenly coated in the masala. Cook for 10-12 minutes on medium low, stirring in between so that the masala doesn’t catch.
4.      Pour in the coconut milk, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or it attains a nice gravy colour and the oil has separated. Switch off. Serve hot with steamed long grained rice or parotta.

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