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Rendang Ayam - Indonesian Chicken Rendang

An easy recipe to prepare Indonesian style rendang. The same recipe for the chicken rendang can be used to prepare beef, pork, eggs, and even young jackfruit.

Rendang regularly shows up among the list of world’s most delicious food, and if you have ever sink your teeth into the savory, spicy, and slowly braised rendang, you are sure to nod your head in agreement. Beef is probably the more popular rendang, but if you want a quicker meal, chicken rendang is definitely trailing in a close second.

Ingredients for Rendang Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Rendang)
Ingredients for Rendang Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Rendang)

Where is the origin of rendang?

Rendang is the most distinguished dish of the Minang people, and the people of Minang has existed since long before either Indonesia or Malaysia becomes a country. Minang people traveled far and wide, and the rendang that existed today originates from Minang, with slight differences in different regions.

You will hear debates and claims from the two countries that rendang is theirs, but I like to think the Minang will scoff and remind both sides that rendang is theirs, and since there are plenty of Minang descents in both countries, everyone should just shut up and eat their rendang happily.

Rendang Ayam - Indonesian Chicken Rendang
Rendang Ayam - Indonesian Chicken Rendang

How long do you cook a rendang?

After a long discussion with my Minang friend, I arrive at this wisdom. One needs to cook rendang on a slow fire (simmering), in a wok, without any cover, until the sauce is reduced and even darken and caramelized (if possible).

If one is in a hurry and leave the sauce reduced only by half, it is best to call it a gulai instead of a rendang.

And if one is slightly more patient and wait until the sauce is reduced to less than a quarter, it should be called a kalio.

Only when the sauce is truly reduced and even turn slightly dark, then the dish can be called a rendang.

Rendang Ayam - Indonesian Chicken Rendang
Rendang Ayam - Indonesian Chicken Rendang

Rendang Ayam - Indonesian Chicken Rendang

5.0 from 26 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe


  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, remove the ribs
  • 3 lemongrass, bruised and knotted
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 400 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon (~ 25 gram) tamarind + 4 tablespoon hot water, mix into a thick paste and strained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • Spice paste (grind the following together)
  • 100 gram shallot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5-10 fresh red chilies (use fresno, or bird eye), seeded
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 inch galangal
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (or 1 inch fresh turmeric)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder


  1. Rub chicken leg quarters with the 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of salt. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a wok and sauté spice paste, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass until fragrant. About 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the chicken leg quarters, and cook until no longer pink.
  4. Add coconut milk, water, strained tamarind paste, salt, and sugar. Stir briefly to mix, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking, uncovered, until the sauce is almost dry and clings to the chicken quarters.
  5. Turn off heat. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with steamed white rice.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Sylvie Sylvie says:

    I had never heard of this dish before, but it sounds so full of delicious ingredients, spices and flavours - i cannot wait to give it a go!

  • Mikayla Mikayla says:

    So good! I love that you share the history of the dish too!

  • Beth Beth says:

    I love the flavors of this recipe! I have a pretty good idea that there will be zero leftovers of this delicious dish!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Haha, there has never been leftovers whenever I make rendang. In fact, I always fear I make too little to satisfy everyone.

  • Tisha Tisha says:

    This chicken looks absolutely incredible and loaded with flavor!

  • Roslia Santamaria Roslia Santamaria says:

    This looks super tasty!! I can’t wait to give it a try! It’s all delicious ingredients :)

  • kim kim says:

    Love this recipe! It's so easy and has so much flavor!

  • Jeannette (Back to the Book Nutrition) Jeannette (Back to the Book Nutrition) says:

    In America, we eat white meat a lot. I never realized how many other countries appreciate the juiciness of darker chicken meats. I have grown to change my preference as well.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Back when I started college in the States, I find it really strange that chicken thighs, drumsticks, and quarters (dark meat) are always priced lower compared to chicken breast (white meat), which is good for me since coming from Indonesia, I definitely prefer those cuts.

  • Roxana Roxana says:

    The recipe has so much flavor in it. Definitely makes sense why it is so popular. Very nicely explained post.

  • The Peasant's Daughter The Peasant's Daughter says:

    Rendang is one of my absolute favourite dishes! Looks great and properly made.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks! It means a lot coming from fellow rendang lovers. :)

  • Pellan Pellan says:

    I love rendang!! Never tried to make it myself before since my husband is batak I usually leave it up to him. But with this recipe in hand I'm gonna give it a go. We will see what he thinks and if our sumatran friends enjoys it. I know I will, looks great! Wish me luck =)

    • Anita Anita says:

      Oh, lucky you to have your husband prepare a nice batch of rendang. I hope this will taste about the same as his. If he is willing to share his family recipe, I'll be so happy to learn. :)

      • Pellan Pellan says:

        This rendang recipe was a total success.
        The only problem was that it finished too quickly =) and I'm a little afraid that from now on I'll be the one cooking this instead.
        But thank you for this! I will definitely cook more of your recipe while I continue learning to cook indonesian food.
        Regarding the family recipe, it's non existing. He says he just makes it up as he goes along but I will definetly ask my mother in law next time we visit =)

        • Anita Anita says:

          Yay, I'm so happy it turned out great! The rendang and the great disappearing act goes hand in hand, and it's never safe to just make one batch. I have seen a triple batch of rendang disappeared in a blink when I have friends over (less than 10 people total!).

  • Priscilla Ricci Priscilla Ricci says:

    This recipe was really good!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Yay! Glad you love it, Priscilla. :)

  • Lizet Bowen Lizet Bowen says:

    This chicken sounds amazing! Love all the ingredients it has. Would you serve this with rice? or how would you serve it?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Lizet, I typically serve this with steamed white rice. If possible, Thai jasmine rice would be the best choice. :)

  • Catherine Catherine says:

    This looks absolutely delicious and so flavorful! I'm saving this recipe for later because I 'm dying to try it later. I know this is something my family will enjoy too!

  • Julie Julie says:

    Very Tasty! Thanks for sharing!

  • Renee | The Good Hearted Woman Renee | The Good Hearted Woman says:

    This preparation is new to me, and I can't wait to try making it. The spice combo here sounds amazing!

  • Michelle Michelle says:

    So delicious! Love the turmeric and the homemade spice paste!

  • Dannii Dannii says:

    Chicken rendang is one of my favourite curries. So much delicious flavour.

  • Natanja || Home Baked Bliss Natanja || Home Baked Bliss says:

    Thank you for sharing. Looks delicious! The spice paste has a ton of amazing ingredients and I m sure it tastes amazing. Great work! 😀

  • Jovita Jovita says:

    I have never tried chicken rendang before, but look at the ingredients, it must be awesome!

  • Adrianne Adrianne says:

    These flavours sound to die for. Yum, you make me so hungry. Can't wait to try it this weekend. Cheers

  • Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says:

    This rendang looks absolutely delicious! Sounds ever so flavourful and tasty!

  • Milky Milky says:

    Love the way the spices permeate the meat! Once it's on low, it doesn't need a lot of attention, so it's actually easier than I'd expect for the famous rendang. I used thigh pieces (bone-in, without the drumstick) so I halved the recipe and subbed in onion for shallot, soaked dried Thai chillies instead of fresh. I wish I had kept track of how long it simmered for, but it was definitely over an hour.

    The "rendang wisdom" was very helpful... it's reassuring to know if it's not simmered to the absolute minimum it will still make a tasty dish (although with another name, haha) I served mine with rice and some leftover cucumber with gado-gado sauce.

    I feel like a stalker for trying so many recipes on DailyCookingQuest, but it's so easy to follow consistent methods and ingredients rather than hop around to all different kinds of chefs/blogs (and be stuck with a pantry full of ingredients I hardly use). Recipes on the internet can be just as vague as "Ohh, use just enough/until it tastes right" so it's great to have clear photos and descriptions (especially like these that show all the ingredients before cooking). They're not only gorgeous, they're incredibly helpful!

  • Emily Emily says:

    Hello! I want to try this recipe and went out for the ingredients yesterday. I couldn’t find fresh or block tamarind and could only find Tamicon concentrated tamarind paste. Do you have any suggestions on how much of this to use in the recipe and/or how to prepare it? Should I still mix it with water and push through a sieve ?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Emily, you should be able to directly use the concentrated tamarind paste without mixing it with water or pushing it through a sieve. Since it's concentrated, I think 2 tablespoons should be enough.

  • Flo Flo says:

    It was such a success! My 3 years old daughter who is a picky eater loves it too!

  • Kerri Kerri says:

    I never heard of rendang before now! This looks so delicious and I can't wait to try!

  • Roxana Roxana says:

    I absolutely love rendang. And love how easy your recipe and yet so packed with flavor.

  • Mirlene Mirlene says:

    I love the spicy and creamy flavor for this chicken rendang! I'll be making this again cause my family loves anything with chicken!

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