Rendang Ayam Masterchef UK

My “Non Crispy” MasterChef UK Chicken Rendang

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My Rendang isn't Crispy

My Rendang isn't Crispy

By Zaleha Kadir Olpin

Published 2019

  • About

Another family favourite that now holds a special place in my heart for a very different reason. This dish used to remind me of my mother, and now it has also given me the opportunity to write this book. I served this rendang together with my nasi lemak, on my last episode on MasterChef UK. The controversy that came with it presented me with so many it was really a blessing in disguise!


  • 1 large chicken, about 1.5 kg (3 lb oz)
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 slice asam gelugor
  • 40 g (1⅓ oz) palm sugar, or to taste
  • 120 g (4⅓ oz) toasted grated coconut
  • 500 ml (16 fl oz / 2 cups) coconut milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 turmeric leaves, finely sliced

Spice Paste

  • 150 g (5⅓ oz) dried chilli paste
  • 150 g (5⅓ oz) shallots, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 candlenuts
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 7.5-cm (3-inch) knob ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 7.5-cm (3-inch) knob galangal, peeled and sliced
  • 250 ml (8 fl oz / 1 cup) coconut milk


  • Wash the chicken and pat dry. Cut into 10 pieces. Set aside.
  • Place all the ingredients for the spice paste in a blender and process until smooth. Add a little water to help the blades move, if needed.
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the spice paste, salt and asam gelugor to get the flavour into the spice. Stir for 2–3 minutes, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the oil separates.
  • Add the chicken, palm sugar, toasted grated coconut, coconut milk, turmeric powder and turmeric leaves. Let the mixture return to the boil, then turn down the heat. Let it simmer for 20 minutes, or until the oil separates again, the sauce is thick and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Dish out and serve with rice and other dishes.

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