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Overhead view of chicken rendang in a black bowl.

Chicken Rendang

Ready in just an hour, this Chicken Rendang is a flavorful Malaysian stew with tender chicken thighs, warming spices and coconut milk.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Malaysian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Calories 266kcal


Spice Paste:


  • Combine all the spice paste ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until a paste forms. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time as needed to make a paste.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat and brown the chicken in 2 separate batches (to avoid overcrowding).
  • Remove the chicken and set aside.
  • Toast the cloves, star anise and cardamom seeds over medium heat until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle.
  • Turn the heat down to medium and add the spice paste. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until the paste has darkened.
  • Add the cinnamon, toasted spice mixture, lemongrass paste, tamarind, kaffir lime leaves, coconut sugar, salt and chicken back in and stir to combine. Cook 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken stock and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve over rice with fresh squeezed lime slices.


  1. While you can use pre-ground spices, for the best flavor, I highly recommend toasting your own spices and grinding them into a powder with a mortar and pestle.
  2. For even cooking, make sure you cut your chicken into roughly the same size pieces.
  3. When browning the chicken, do so in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. You want the chicken to brown, not steam.
  4. You can adjust the spice level by adding more or less dried chilies to the spice paste. 
  5. You can substitute brown or palm sugar for coconut sugar.
  6. If you prefer your rendang a little saucier, just add more coconut milk or broth. Just keep in mind that this will dilute the other flavors slightly.
  7. Feel free to add veggies to the rendang. Veggies like spinach, carrots, mushrooms or broccoli work well.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 932mg | Potassium: 581mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg