Sherson Lian’s Yummy Smoked Chicken Rendang

Malaysians the world over are up in arms and standing in solidarity with Zaleha Kadir Olpin. The Malaysia-born MasterChef UK contestant was eliminated from the show for serving… wait for it… chicken rendang that wasn’t crispy.

“I like the rendang flavour, there’s a coconut sweetness. However, the chicken skin isn’t crispy. It can’t be eaten and all the sauce is on the skin so I can’t eat it,” said judge Gregg Wallace.

A post shared by Zaleha Kadir Olpin (@z.olpin) on

We don’t know, either, where to find rendang that would satisfy his stringent (and frankly, weird) requirements. Don’t want sauce on the skin? Hah, try telling your mother that!

What we do have, however, is the recipe for delicious Smoked Chicken Rendang that may delight your friends and family — be they Asian, Caucasian or everything in between.

This recipe is from Volume 83 of the Her World Cookbook (2016), with Sherson Lian and Kitchen Mafia. Look up the Cookbook on the Apple App Store or Google Play to purchase a digital copy!


Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves: 6


5 chicken thighs, smoked

250ml coconut milk

5 cardamom pods

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 star anise

85g roasted coconut paste (kerisik)

150g palm sugar (gula Melaka)

1 turmeric leaf

8 kaffir lime leaves


For the spice paste:

100g fresh red chillies

30g dried red chillies

3 sticks lemongrass

200g shallots

50g garlic

30g ginger

30g galangal

60g candlenuts

40g tamarind paste

2 tbsp turmeric powder



  1. To smoke the chicken: line inside of large pot or wok with aluminium foil, then scatter with wet and dry smoking chips (a handful of each). Place small cooling rack in pot, and lay chicken on it. Cover pot tightly, and smoke over low fire for 30 minutes.
  2. Blend spice paste ingredients in food processor until smooth.
  3. Sweat cardamom, coriander seeds and star anise in pan until fragrant. Then, add in spice paste and continue frying.
  4. Add in all other ingredients and continue to cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until mixture turns dry.
  5. Season and serve.



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