Another Southeast Asian recipe or Malaysian, to be specific, for you to try! I developed this version of the slow cooker chicken rendang curry recipe to simplify it so that it'll be easier to make for everybody around the world. As always, whenever I simplify an Asian recipe (which we know can be quite laborious) I will make sure I still preserve the wonderful essence flavors of that dish, and the same goes for this delicious rendang.
Texture and flavor - Tender flavourful chicken with creamy curry lemongrass sauce. Yes, rendang is a bit different from other curries as it has a very significant delicious citrus-like lemongrass flavor.
Level - Super easy, let the slow cooker do the work for ya!
Size - 6 people.
Occasion - Whenever you fancy a different curry to impress your family and friends.
Why This Recipe?
As I mentioned earlier, this recipe is made so that it'll be easier and doable for everybody. Regardless if you're in Asia and surrounded by an abundance of Asian ingredients, or you're just passionate about food and would love to try this dish that's so famous in countries like Malaysia.
This rendang is different from the traditional rendang as it is simplified in 2 ways:
- the recipe itself by using ingredients that are more common and easier to find.
- the cooking method which is way easier as you don't need to babysit it for several hours.
Despite being a simplified recipe, this rendang is so amazingly delicious because it still preserves all the essence flavors of a traditional rendang. We've also simplified but still preserved the essence of pho in our easy beef pho recipe!
Lets Talk Ingredients
Curry powder - use whichever you have. If you like it spicier, you can use Madras curry powder.
Lemongrass - you can find it in the frozen section in any Asian store. I grew my own (my mother sent me some fresh lemongrass by post from Malaysia, I planted them and have never run out of them for all these years). If you're using lemongrass paste from a jar, use around ¼ to ⅓ cup of it. Just adjust the salt accordingly because usually, the paste is already with salt.
SUBSTITUTION: Use lemon or lime zest instead. Just add it together with the coconut milk mixture.
- Lemon: Use a total of 1-2 lemon zest.
- Lime: Use a total of 2-3 lime zest.
It's not going to taste the same as lemongrass but it works.
Galangal - you can also find it in the frozen section in any Asian store. But if you can't find it then omit it. It's fine.
Kefir lime leaves - you can find them either in the fresh veggies section or in the frozen section in any Asian store. You can also use dry ones (double the amount and hydrate in warm water before using). They give the rendang a citrusy touch.
SUBSTITUTION: Lime or lemon zest would work. Simply zest ½ lemon or 1 lime and add together with the coconut milk mixture. Again, it's not going to taste the same but it'll do. No need to add it if you're already using zest to substitute lemongrass.
Turmeric leaves - Lend a wonderful aromatic smell for rendang. Quite difficult to get (once I grew them myself). Skip if you don't have it.
Cayenne pepper - Optional. This is for the heat. You can use chili powder or chili flakes, it doesn't matter.
Do I Need To Cook The Base?
Yes, and it's going to be worth those 10 minutes of your time.
Cooking the base adds that depth of flavor to your rendang. The umami kick that we're looking for. I've tried not cooking the base first and personally for me, there was just something lacking, you know.
But hey, if you don't want to, then don't. Your choice.
How To Thicken The Sauce?
As we all know, cooking with a slow cooker always results in quite a watery dish. And that is a super no-no to a rendang curry. In this recipe, we're using the minimal liquid to begin with. We will have more liquid from the chicken as it cooks.
To thicken all the liquid, we will use corn starch that we will mix with coconut milk and let everything cook, uncovered, for a good 10-15 minutes.
What To Eat It With?
Oh, this is fun!
In my family, a rendang should always be accompanied by glutinous rice. It can be steamed glutinous rice with turmeric or simply plain.
But of course, that's not all. You can still enjoy it with rice, bread, or something that you can soak the wonderful sauce with. Oh la la!
More Malaysian Recipes
- Beef rendang
- Chicken rendang the traditional way
- Quick red curry laksa in 20 minutes
- Savoury pancake bites (kuih cara berlauk)
- Quick Penang noodle soup (asam laksa)
- Net pancakes (roti jala)
Slow Cooker Chicken Rendang Curry
- 6 lemongrass , thinly sliced
- 1 onion , chopped roughly
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ thumb sized galangal , chopped roughly
- 1 ½ thumb sized ginger , chopped roughly
- 2 lemongrass , bruised
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 4 cardamoms
- 3 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ⅓ cup water (80 ml)
- 4 turmeric leaves , thinly sliced
- 15 kefir lime leaves , thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 2.2 lb chicken legs, bone in & skinless (1 kg)
Seasoning And Thickening
- 1 cup coconut milk (250 ml)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- ½ lime , take the juice
- Blend all the paste ingredients in a grinder into a fine paste. Use a splash of water if needed to help the blending process. You might need to do this is batches, depending on how big your grinder is. Set aside.
- We'll start with the spices ingredients. Heat a pan on medium heat with some oil. Add in bruised lemongrass, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamoms and star anise. Cook until the spices release their fragrances.
- Add in the rest of the spices ingredients together with the blended paste and continue cooking for 10 minutes, until the paste becomes thick. Stir now and then.
- Spray the inside of the slow cooker pot with some oil. Add in cooked base and the all of the main ingredients except chicken. Mix everything well. Now add in the chicken and coat the pieces well with the mixture.
- Close the lid. Cook on high setting for 2 hours. Gently give everything a mix with a spatula and continue cooking for another 30 minutes on high setting with the lid on.
Seasoning And Thickening
- Add coconut milk and corn starch into a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Remove the slow cooker lid. Pour the coconut milk mixture into the pot together followed by lime juice. Gently mix everything well. Continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes on high setting without the lid, until the sauce thickens. Adjust seasonings if needed. Serve with some steamed glutinous rice or white rice. Enjoy!
Originally published on Nov 22, 2018. Updated with improved text, recipe and pictures on Apr 12, 2021.