Monday, October 28, 2013

Canola Oil &Chicken Rendang

The other day I was thrilled to receive a bottle of Hudson Canola oil from Dalmia Continental, owners of Leonardo Olive Oil. Although I had read/heard about the benefits of canola oil, I had never cooked with it. Partly because I hadn't seen it on any of the markets that I frequent. But I had seen blog posts about this oil. Am I glad I can try out something new and something so good?!!
The parcel also included a recipe booklet and it was a joy to go through it. Canola oil is neutral in taste and aroma and it has one of the highest smoking points amongst all oils. This site has all the canola oil facts you might be interested in knowing. You can imagine how impatient I was to use it and what better than a recipe that I'd fallen for ever since I first drooled over it on Food Safari/Fox Traveller. Although it was beef and we don't cook/eat beef but I tried it with mutton and it was so good that I have already incorporated it in our household's diet! I've also read about it on several blogs, mainly Malaysian, and I've come with this version. And so here it is, my version of chicken rendang. But one important ingredient is missing. And that is galangal that I bought in Delhi and forgot to take it out of my son's fridge. Sigh!

Chicken rendang
Canola oil, I used 4 tablespoons
800 grams chicken cut into regular pieces and marinated with salt and pepper for 30 minutes
4 large onions, thinly sliced
6 cloves of garlic
1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger
2 stalks of lemon grass, crushed
Two tomatoes, diced
A quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder
Turmeric leaves (I used one tender leaf)
10 dried chillies soaked in water and ground but not deseeded as we like the heat
Two tablespoons of coriander and cumin powder (seeds toasted and ground)
Lime leaves ( no kaffir lime leaves in our markets)
4 tablespoons of grated coconut roasted till golden brown & ground in a blender
Coconut milk ( I used both the first and the second press from one coconut)
2 tablespoons of soya sauce
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for the garnish
2 star anise
2 one-inch sticks of cinnamon

  • Make a paste of the onions, ginger and garlic. 
  • Heat the oil in a pan. Then add the star anise and the cinnamon. Stir in the freshly made paste and cook for a few minutes before adding the chicken.
  • Roll up the turmeric leaves and the lemon leaves together and cut them fine. Rolling up the leaves makes it easier to cut them. Add them to the pan along with the crushed lemon grass stalks.
  • The rest of the spices can go in now. Season with salt.
  • Add the second press of coconut milk, mix gently and continue to cook till the rendang has a thick curry look and pickle-like texture. This will take about 35-40 minutes. Add the ground coconut as well. I would have used more but my husband is not really fond of coconut in savoury dishes.
  • Add the soya sauce and the first press of coconut milk. Stir.
  • Remove from the fire after a few minutes. Remove the lemon grass stalks.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped coriander.
The dish was delicious and went very well with our staple of steamed rice. I have seen rendang recipes where sugar is added but the coconut and its milk that I added was sweet enough (for us). Instead of tamarind paste or lemon juice, I used tomatoes. Most of the tomato varieties available in our markets are very acidic and that maintained a balance with the sweetness of the onions and the coconut. More recipes with canola oil coming up in my future posts.
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