After browsing through the whole Masterchef Australia Cookbook, I decided to cook Poh’s chicken rendang with coconut lace pancake as the next dish to try out. It is not only a quite interesting dish, but also one of the easiest dishes to make from the book.

Poh’s chicken rendang is different from most curries or rendangs as it is dry and crispy.

Chicken rendang with coconut lace pancakes

(from Masterchef Australia the Cookbook volume one 2009, recipe by Poh)

(serves 4)

  • 500 gr skinless chicken breast fillets
  • ¾ cup (70 gr) desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 5 eschalots or 1 large red onion, roughtly chopped. I used red onion.
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 cm piece ginger, finely sliced
  • 2 cm piece galangal, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. I used olive oil.
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

Ingredients for chicken rendang

Coconut lace pancakes

  • ¾ cup (105 gr) plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) coconut milk
  • oil, to grease the pan

Ingredients for coconut lace pancakes

Step 1. Steam or poach the chicken breast (I steamed them for about 15 minutes). Cool and then shred finely.

Shredded chicken

Step 2. Dry fry coconut in a frying pan or wok until golden. Set aside. Dry fry spices until toasted and fragrant. Set aside.

Step 3. Place eschalots/red onions, garlic, ginger, galangal and lemongrass in a blender and process to form a fine paste. Heat oil in a frying pan and cook paste over medium heat until fragrant and caramelised.

Step 4. Add chicken, dry spice mixture, coconut milk and sugar to onion mixture. Cook until the sauce has reduced slightly. Add toasted coconut. This will absorb most of the sauce. Keep cooking until mixture is quite dry and forms a golden crust on the underside, and keep tossing until all the chicken has a crispy, golden appearance.

Step 5. To make the pancake, whisk flour, salt and eggs in a large jug or mixing bowl until completely smooth. Add coconut milk to make the batter the consistency of pouring cream. Pass mixture through a sieve to give a very smooth texture.

Step 6. Heat a lightly oiled non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Make sure the pan is sufficiently hot before attempting a pancake. Using a jug or an empty milk carton, pour a thin stream of the batter in a zigzag motion. Repeat the action to form a crosshatch pattern. To complete the pancake, circle around the outer edge of the crosshatch pattern.

Step 7. Using a wooden spatula, flick up an edge and gently pick the pancake up with your fingers. Flip onto the other side and cook for 2 seconds. Place the pancake on a plate. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter.

Step 8. Serve the pancakes hot or at room temperature with the chicken rendang.

Poh's chicken rendang with coconut lace pancakes

The pancake is a bit tricky to make 😛 as you need to make sure you only pour a thin stream from the jug and at the same time you have to form a pattern. It took me about 3 pancakes to finally make an okay one :D. Using an empty milk carton is probably easier (as suggested by Poh), but I didn’t have one.

I am very happy with the dry chicken rendang; it’s tasty (I would add more chilli powder next time :P) and crispy. I still have some leftovers which I keep in the fridge and I would have it with steamed rice for tomorrow’s lunch 🙂

Thanks Poh for an interesting dish 🙂