When it comes to chicken the star of the show at Little House Cafe is surely the jia li mian bao ji, a gargantuan golden brown bun filled with curried chicken. That said, it may have just been eclipsed by a dish that made its debut today, chicken rendang. I learned about it while looking at the restaurant’s Instagram page, which called it dry curry chicken with biryani rice.
I’ve eaten my fair share of both Malaysian and Indonesian beef rendang, a soul warming curry, but had never heard of a chicken version so when I saw the photo of a sunny mound of rice accompanied by a generous portion of curry coated poultry, I knew what was for lunch.
The tender braised chicken was coated with a coconut curry that packed just enough heat to get my nose running. There was also a nice hint of kaffir lime and the rice itself had a kick as well. At first I was a little put off by the amount of curry paste, but soon realized it was great mixed with the rice. Afterwards I cooled down with a mellow Chinese style rice cake.
“Can you tell me about the dish?” I asked Joanne Lee who was working the counter this afternoon. “He knows more about it,” she said turning to her brother Jeremy to ask him something in Chinese. “It’s got turmeric and lots of spices,” the young cook said with a shrug.
The dish’s Chinese name—huangjiang ji fan—translates to turmeric chicken rice. It’s part of a rotating roster of weekend specials that the restaurant started rolling out a few months ago. Get there tomorrow and you’ll still have a chance to try it. As for me I’m looking forward to next weekend’s special dish: asam laksa.
Little House Cafe, 90-19 Corona Ave., Elmhurst, 718-592-0888