Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chicken Rendang with Cinnamon and Star Anise

There are few things better on a cold weekend than hibernating at home while a rich, flavourful dish simmers away on the stove. The smell of this dish is amazing. I found the dish surprisingly mild when it was done (especially given that I'd put in the full amount of the chiles), but the taste was deeply satisfying. Perfect for a cold day. I scaled the recipe in half and used only drumsticks and thighs (original below), but next time I think I'll go with the full amount!

One year ago: Stir-Fried Orange Beef

Chicken Rendang with Cinnamon and Star Anise (from Cradle of Flavor)

Flavoring Paste
3 stalks fresh lemongrass
110g shallots, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 piece galangal, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 tbsp, optional)
2 - 10 small dried red chiles such as arbol, stemmed
1 chicken (1.4 - 1.6 kg)
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole star anise
6 green cardamom pods, cracked open
2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 piece asam gelugor (optional, I omitted)
1 tsp sugar
4 whole kaffir lime leaves
3/4 tsp kosher salt

1. Cut off the ends of the lemongrass and remove the tough outer layers. Slice.
2. Place lemongrass, shallots, garlic, turmeric, galangal, and chiles in small food processor. Pulse until chunky smooth adding up to 2 tbsp water if necessary.
3. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut into 16 pieces and set aside (thighs and drumsticks cut in half, 6 pieces of breast, and wings whole).
4. Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-low heat. Add cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
5. Add paste and saute until it begins to separate from the oil, 5 - 7 minutes.
6. Add coconut milk, asam gelugor, sugar, lime leaves, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring every 5 minutes until liquid has reduced by 1/4, about 20 minutes.
7. Add chicken to coconut milk and stir to combine. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring every 10 minutes until liquid has reduced by about 95%, 1 - 1.5 hours. Remove any excess oil if desired.
8. Reduce heat to low and allow chicken to brown, stirring every 5 minutes, until chicken is medium golden brown, about 25 minutes.
9. Transfer chicken to a serving dish and let rest at least 10 minutes before serving.

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