In several parts of the Indian subcontinent, the word ‘stew’
has been adopted in to the mainstream vernacular as istew or ishtu. In Kerala
and Tamil Nadu, the istew is served with appam (rice pancakes) or idiyappam (rice
noodles or string hoppers). My version is adapted from Camellia Panjabi’s 50
Great Curries of India book.
800g boneless thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
Traditionally the term rendang
does not refer to a type of dish. It actually refers to a method of slow
cooking; stir-frying or mixing the ingredients continuously on a very slow fire
for number of hours until they are devoid of any liquid. It was the judicious
use of spices plus the cooking method that made the dish popular during
celebrations and festivities. While rendang originated in West Sumatra, Indonesia
it has spread throughout South East Asia. You can use meat, duck, chicken and
even jackfruit to cook this way. This recipe is for chicken and thankfully my
recipe does not cook for hours on end!!
5-6 shallots peeled and chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic chopped
5 centimetre piece of fresh
5 centimetre piece of galangal
7-8 dried red chillies cut into
3-4 centimetre piece, seeds partially removed and soaked in hot water for half
2 stalks of lemon grass (better
to get fresh, if frozen thawed) outer sheaths peeled off and just the white
100 grams grated coconut (fresh
or thawed if frozen)
165 ml coconut milk
100 ml water
3 Kaffir lime leaves – remove the
rib for one of the leaves and finely chop. Set aside for garnish
1 spoon of jaggery or brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
500 grams skinless, boneless
chicken thighs cut into about 4 centimetre pieces
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Using a food processor, grind
together to a fine paste the shallots, garlic, ginger, galangal, red chillies
and the lemon grass. Add a couple of tablespoons of water as needed.
In a large wok, roast the grated
coconut until golden brown and set aside. This will take ten minutes. If you do
it on high, you will burn the coconut so best over moderate heat frying
Heat the oil in wok and brown the
chicken lightly in batches. You only need to oil the first batch as the fat
from this is sufficient for the remaining pieces. Set aside.
Put the spice paste in a wok along with coconut milk, turmeric, the two Keffir lime leaves, jaggery or brown sugar and the water. Bring it to a boil and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring intermittently until the liquids have reduced to half the original amount. Now add the chicken and continue cooking uncovered for a further 10 minutes. Add the toasted coconut, stir and allow to cook for a further 3 minutes. Sprinkle the finely chopped Keffir lime leaf and serve with rice or Malaysian roti. Serves 4.
Cooking tips: The flavours
develop the next day, so may pay to have it the next day. You can also double
the spice paste and freeze one lot to make a different type of rendang later
A fiery hot chilli relish
originally from Yemen but now popular in Israel. It is eaten as an
accompaniment to just about everything. I served it up with roast Maryland
chicken. This recipe is courtesy of Greg and Lucy Malouf from their Moorish
4 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 cups fresh coriander, roots
4 – 6 red chillies – I did not
remove the seeds but you can if you don’t like super-hot relish
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
A splash of water
Crush the cardamom pods,
peppercorns and caraway seeds in a mortar and pestle, then sift to remove the
husks. I used a tea strainer.
Wash and thoroughly dry the
coriander. Put the chillies, coriander, garlic, salt and water in a blender,
add the spices and mix well. Tip into a jar and seal with 1 tablespoon olive
oil. It will keep for around a week in the refrigerator.
Makes 100 ml
TRAY BAKED CHICKEN MARYLAND
A chicken Maryland is a cut of chicken which contains both the
drumstick and thigh. It is a great budget-friendly cut to use for a quick roast chicken or in a one-pot wonder meal.
4 pieces chicken maryland cut
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Maldon sea salt
Preheat oven to 210oC
or 190o C fan bake. Rub the vegetable oil on the legs and sprinkle
Maldon sea salt liberally. Place legs on a wire rack over an oven tray. Bake in
oven for 30 to 35 minutes until done. Serve with couscous and Zhoug. Serves 4.
Schmaltz is the rendered chicken
fat which collects in the tray. You can spoon into a small bowl and use it to
flavour rice or couscous.
1 cup of tightly packed leaves
and stems of coriander
½ cup of mint leaves
1 thumb ginger, roughly chopped
6-10 green chillies depending on
your heat preference and also how hot the chillies are to begin with
Cut the chicken into 5 centimetre
dice. To prepare the spice paste, soak the nuts in warm water for 10 -15
minutes. In a fry pan heat a tablespoon of oil and fry the chopped onion. Let
it cool. Put all the spice paste ingredients including the fried onion in a
blender and whiz to a paste.
Heat oil in a deep sauté pan and
add the red chilli along with cinnamon stick. When the flavour is evident, then
add the onions. When the onion begins to turn light brown, add the spice paste
and fry vigorously. Mind your hands as it can start to sputter! Continue frying
and add the yoghurt, tamarind paste, salt and a couple of tablespoons of water.
After frying five minutes, add all the chicken pieces. Give it a stir, cover
and cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Serve with rice or Indian breads.