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Rendang Ayam – Malaysian Dry Chicken Curry

Rendang Ayam – Malaysian Dry Chicken Curry

Rendang Ayam - Malaysian Dry Chicken Curry

There are many types of curries in South East Asia and they are uniquely aromatic and tasty. This dish, Malaysian Dry Chicken Curry, or Rendang Ayam in its native language is easy to make and incredibly flavorful.

Rendang Ayam is originally an Indonesian dish, featuring chicken that’s slow-cooked in creamy coconut milk with an orchestra of spices like lemongrass, kaffir lime, and chili. Born in West Sumatra’s Minangkabau culture, it’s traveled across Southeast Asia, finding homes and hearts, especially in Malaysia. With history dating back centuries, rendang was often served to honor guests at special events. The melding of sweet, spicy, and tangy notes creates an unforgettable taste sensation, making it a beloved comfort food that warms both stomachs and souls.

Like all curries, it’s not a complex dish to make, but it is crucial to get all the freshly ground spices to achieve that beautiful aroma and dry texture of the curry. Unlike it’s wet curry cousin, the sauce is the curry paste minus the watery sauce.

If you haven’t attempted curries before, don’t be discouraged to try – it’s very very easy to make and if you make a large pot, you can keep for up to 2 days in the fridge and reheat before meal. To balance the flavors and achieve the right one, keep tasting them.

Rendang Ayam

Rendang Ayam

Rendang Ayam

See Also
Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe

Rendang Ayam

Rendang Ayam

Rendang Ayam

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Rendang Ayam

Tasty Malaysian Dry Chicken Curry

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4 from 1 review

  • Author: Josephine Chan
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


There are many types of curries and all are uniquely aromatic. Malaysian Dry Chicken Curry, Rendang Ayam, is easy to make and super tasty. Don’t be discouraged by the long list of spices for the curry. They can be easily found at Asian Grocers. So, if you haven’t attempted to make any curries before, make this your first one.


Units Scale
  • 2 lbs chicken drumsticks (cut into pieces if you want or leave as is)
  • 1/2 packet grated coconut, toasted
  • 1 large can coconut milk
  • pinch of salt
  • vegetable oil for cooking

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp curry powder

Curry Paste

  • 4 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 60 g galangal
  • 20 shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 6 candlenut
  • 1/2 inch turmeric
  • 3 tbsp dried chilli
  • 10 bird’s eye chilli, de-seed if you prefer not so spicy
  • 5 pcs kaffir lime leaves


  1. Rinse chicken drumsticks. Mix the chicken marinade and rub onto the chicken drumsticks. Leave them to marinade for 30 mins.
  2. Pound the curry paste ingredients together in a mortar and pestle or blend them together in a blender. Pound or blend until you reach a paste-like consistency. Set aside.
  3. Heat up about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a medium high-heated wok. Stir fry the curry paste until fragrant. Mix in chicken drumsticks, coconut milk and salt. Stir. Ensure all drumsticks are equally covered. Once the watery paste starts to bubble, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 1 – 1.5 hours or until the curry paste has become thick and dry. Constantly stir and be sure not to burn the paste.
  4. Once you’ve achieved the desired consistency, add in toasted grated coconut and stir well. Serve with warm steamed rice.
  • Category: Main Courses
  • Cuisine: Malaysian
View Comments (3)
  • Hi there, what did you mean by one bowl of vegetable oil for frying the paste? Love the recipe it’s bubbling away right now :)

      • Sorry for the very long delay in response to that question! Thanks for bringing it to our attention – that’s a typo, it should only be a couple of tbsp’s of vegetable oil. Hope you make this, it is delicious!

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