close
Advertisement

The Great Rendang Scandal: to Crisp or Not to Crisp?

What was all the recent fuss surrounding chicken rendang? We give you the lowdown on the kitchen kerfuffle.

Rendang Wrestling: To Crisp or Not to Crisp
Getty Images

Malaysia-born chef Zaleha Kadiri Olpin was a contestant on MasterChef UK.

For the quarter-final episode, which aired April 2, she decided to serve the judges, John Torode and Gregg Wallace, a traditional Malaysian dish of nasi lemak with a side of chicken rendang.

The judges were none too happy with the chicken, with Wallace commenting, “The skin isn’t crispy. It can’t be eaten but all the sauce is on the skin I can’t eat.”

She was then eliminated from the show. It was a figurative slap heard all around Southeast Asia.

People in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and even Brunei were up in arms, saying that the two judges were not qualified to judge Asian food. Especially since there’s no such thing as crispy chicken rendang.

The dish is usually cooked with beef or chicken, with the marinated meat stewing in a coconut gravy over a long period of time.

This makes it almost impossible to produce crispy skin.

Advertisement
It’s Getting Hot in Here
It’s Getting Hot in Here
Twitter/KFC Malaysia

Before you could say rendang-gate, #CrispyRendang started trending on social media.

Malaysians were, understandably, more involved seeing as how one of their own had been so publicly snubbed, and on a subject that was dear to their hearts.

For a moment in time, even political opponents set aside their differences to defend rendang’s honour.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak posted a picture of chicken rendang on Instagram and Twitter, with the comment, “Mana ada orang makan rendang ayam ‘crispy’?”, which translates to, “Who eats crispy chicken rendang?”

His political opponent in the upcoming elections, Dr Mahathir Mohamed, got in on the action too, tweeting: “Maybe you are confusing rendang chicken with KFC.”

Even the British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vicki Treadell, explained on Twitter that rendang should never be crispy and that it should not be confused with fried chicken, which sometimes accompanies nasi lemak.



Advertisement

More in Recipes

Cooking for Chemo

New free cookbook aims to help those battling cancer

Australia’s Leukemia Foundation has worked with qualified dietitians and celebrity chefs to produce a range of easy, tasty and nutritious recipes for blood cancer patients.

Need To Lose Weight? Start With Butter In Your Coffee

Need Help To Lose Weight? Start With Butter In Your Coffee

It may sound strange - and downright disgusting - but wellness experts are singing the praises of this buttery beverage.

Easy Peasy Chocolate Cake

Easy Peasy Chocolate Cake

Here's a no-fuss, yet impressive, cake for a special occasion. Serve with a generous dollop of cream or a spoonful of good ice-cream.
Double Chocolate Creams

Double Chocolate Creams

A delicious treat, chocolate is a great feel-good food.

Ricotta bruschetta

Ricotta bruschetta

With a selection of Italian–style antipasto vegetables in your refrigerator, interesting light meals and snacks can be prepared in minutes, such as these tasty toasts topped with capsicum and ricotta. A salad is all that's needed to make a sustaining lunch.


Advertisement