I first came into contact with Rendang at Indonesian restaurant (and subsequently had the dish many times in Bali and Lombok) and even then thought it was amazing ... rich, flavorful and very unique - not really curry like, but just as rich with flavor. The dish has its origins in Indonesia and seems quite ubiquitous there, but is often found in Malaysian and Singaporean menus. There are loads of recipes for Rendang - the key though is slow cooking in a flavorful bath of coconut milk and spices. As the liquid burns off, eventually you end up frying the tender chunks of beef.
- Spice Paste
- pinch of coriander seeds, roasted
- handful of candlenut, roasted (use blanched almonds or macadamia nuts as a substitute)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 4 slices of blue ginger (galangal)
- 5-7 fresh red chilies, minced
- 5 small shallots
- 1 tbsp palm sugar (you can use brown sugar as a substitute)
- dash of salt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- splash of vegetable oil
- Ingredients for Stewing
- 2 cans of coconut milk
- 2 cups of water
- 2 1/2 lbs of beef chunks for stewing
- 3 lemongrass stems
- 2 indian bay leaves (daun salam)
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes, roasted and ground
- Roast the coriander seeds and the candlenut briefly in a dry pan. Pulse in a food processor briefly until ground. Add the garlic, ginger, galangal, chilies, shallots, sugar, salt and turmeric into the processor and blend until a paste - add a bit of water if needed.
- Add the spice paste to a large wok pan (depending on the size, you might need to start cooking this dish in a pot, then move to a deep frying pan like a wok), frying for a minute or two with vegetable oil. Add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the beef chunks.
- Now for the time-consuming part - stir and cook the beef on medium heat for 10 minutes. Then add the crushed lemongrass stalks - using the white heart part only and the daun salam. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for nearly two hours - as long as it takes for the liquid to evaporate. As the liquid evaporates, you will effectively be frying the beef chunks.
- When the liquid is almost all gone, add the ground & roasted coconut flakes and continue to cook. Enjoy with rice... it's well worth it.
Serving Size: 3-4
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Preparation Time: 1 hours, 45 minutes