Chicken rendang

Sunday afternoon whilst planting the garlic our lunch was cooking.

I made a thick coconut flavoured Indonesian curry. It was very straightforward and was a dish that was happiest being left on its own to cook whilst I got on with other things which included nibbling at some sweet crispy crabs.

The recipe came from a book on Indonesian cooking that I picked up years ago. It was a chicken rendang. It is similar to a beef rendang save that the sauce is left to cook for an hour before adding the chicken.

The sauce was six cans of coconut milk, chopped onion, garlic, galingale and chilli, lots of turmeric, a couple of bay leaves, a bruised piece of lemon grass and salt. All this was put into a large pot and brought to a slow boil and then left to simmer until it had started to reduce. I then added the pieces of chicken and some thick tamarind water and left it all to cook for another hour and a bit.

At this point the sauce should separate into the oil from the coconut and the rest. You should then turn the heat up and continue stirring so that oil is absorbed by the meat and the sediment.

I did a bit of that but time was running out and the kids were hungry so we ate it with rice before all the oil had been absorbed.

The vegetarian alternative was easy to make by putting some of the sauce to one side before adding the chicken and stirring in a chopped aubergine and a tin of chickpeas.

There was plenty left for this evening and it was better second night in. In reheating the oil was absorbed and the whole dish took on a nutty flavour as if I had stirred in a half jar of smooth peanut butter.

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