In the chicken rendang recipe given here, the cracked pods all but melt as they slowly cook in the coconut milk and can be eaten without fear.
For the paste
6 eschalots peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4cm piece fresh turmeric peeled (or 1 tsp of ground)
4cm piece fresh galangal (or ginger) root, peeled
2 or more small red chilli
For the rendang
4 chicken Marylands (thigh and drumstick)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cinnamon sticks
3 whole star anise
10 green cardamom pods
650ml unsweetened coconut milk
4 lemongrass stalks (bottom 5cm-6cm only, 2 to 3 tough outer layers discarded)
1 tsp tamarind pulp
1 tsp sugar
5 kaffir lime leaves
4 long sweet red chilli
Make the paste by putting its ingredients, roughly chopped, in a food processor with a few tablespoons of water till it is pureed.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and lightly fry the cinnamon, star anise and cardamom for two to three minutes stirring constantly. Add the paste and fry, always stirring, for five minutes.
Add the coconut milk, lemongrass, tamarind, sugar, kaffir lime leaves and a couple of pinches of salt. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
Add the chicken and the long chillies and continue to simmer gently for an hour or so, stirring every 10 minutes, till the liquid has concentrated and sticks to the chicken pieces.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice.