A Healthier Chicken Rendang Recipe

A Malay gathering will never be complete without Rendang Ayam (Chicken Rendang). Try making this traditional favourite with this healthier recipe!

Serves 8
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 50 mins

Ingredients for Rendang Ayam

  • 1.2kg chicken cut into 8 pieces (remove fats and skin, rinse)
  • 200ml low-fat coconut milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp palm sugar (gula melaka)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
  • 2 turmeric leaves, sliced
  • 3 tbsp tamarind pulp (add a bit of water to make a paste)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
  • 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • Low-sodium salt to taste

For Spice Paste

  • 20 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-inch piece fresh turmeric
  • 2-inch piece galangal
  • 2-inch piece ginger
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, sliced
  • 20 pieces dried chillies (soaked in water)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp black pepper corn

Note: Blend all the ingredients for spice paste and add some water if needed.


  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pot or pan.
  2. Add in the spice paste and sauté until aroma rises.
  3. Add in the turmeric leaves, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and stir fry for a few minutes.
  4. Add in the chicken, mix thoroughly with the paste and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Then add in water and coconut milk and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once in a while.
  6. Add in the tamarind paste, palm sugar, salt to taste and let it simmer for another 20 minutes until the chicken is tender and the gravy thickens. Keep stirring.

Download this healthier chicken rendang recipe here!

Additional Tips

  • Use healthier oil when dry frying. Choose oils with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) whenever you can.
  • Simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes instead of 20 minutes if you like your chicken more tender and gravy thicker. Slow cooked ayam rendang is sedap!
  • For chilli lovers, add red chilli for more kick.
  • Always choose low-fat coconut milk when cooking your ayam rendang (and also your nasi lemak) to be on the way to better health.

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