Life with Jesus

Chicken Rendang

I had a great time at A&M hanging out with some Indonesian friends. My best bud from East Asia’s name was Fadhliani. We did a cultural exchange of sorts. I took her horseback riding and we jumped on a trampoline and she showed me how to make this spicy little number.

(A little aside: She told me that, in general, American food is very flat and she made her hand into a plane and went horizontally back and forth. The Indonesian palate, she demonstrated, is like a rollercoaster. There’s horror-oh-my-goodness-I’m-going-to-die spicy to foods that taste bitter and everything in between, including durion, which is a fruit that smells so foul, it is prohibited to bring it into some hotels in Indonesia. They have some at our local Super H Mart but we’ve never been brave enough to try it. Anyway, this dish is a tad on the hottttt side).

(Another aside: I have Americanized this recipe, but one great thing about it is that it doesn’t taste the same each time because you kinda eyeball ingredients. Don’t be afraid to be creative.)



-Chicken- approximately 2 lbs, cut into bite sized cubes

-1 CAN (maybe 1 ½ can) of coconut milk

– 2/3 of a small can of Sambal Oelek chili paste (see picture below). We have used other brands, but it’s just not the same. You can find this at World Market but we also just bought a giant can at Kroger.

-Small onion, diced (or however you prefer your onions)

– 5 or 6 cloves of garlic

– 1 tsp ginger (we use ground)

– Lemon grass

– Pinto beans (optional)

-Galanga (not even sure what this is- also optional)


  1. Cook the cubed chicken in some olive oil. Remove from the pan (leave the oil, if you can).
  2. Sautee the onions (first) and garlic. Once they’re almost done, add the chili paste (start with less, you can always add more later), ginger, and beans (maybe). Let simmer 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk (start with one can), lemon grass, and galanga. Let simmer 2-3 minutes.
    1. At this point, you need to taste it. If your burned stump of a tongue falls out of your head, then you need to add a little more coconut milk to temper it.
  4. Add chicken. Let the pan sit on Medium Heat and let the moisture cook out.


Serve with a lot of RICE- we like Jasmine. You have to play with the spice. We have burned the mouths off of many a guest. We had our College Station house church over for dinner and made it WAY to spicy and made WAY too little rice. People were sucking water out of our bathtubs and our hoses to cool their mouths on fire. After we moved to Dallas, I made it for Alex and he threw up afterwards because his stomach couldn’t handle the heat. True story.


Good luck!

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