Warming beef rendang for the festive season

dahl2

OK, OK I know I am not meant to eat red meat, but this was an early xmas present to myself as it is so totally delicious I have to have it at least once a year. I am writing the recipe on request from one of my guests who can’t wait to make it himself.

There are many types of rendang, and this is an amalgam of the best of several recipes. The trick is to cook it for at least three hours until it is dry and melts in the mouth. You need to get a cut of stewing beef with lots of marbling for the best results. Here in Switzerland the best I could do was ‘bourgignon’ but it was good enough!

And guess what, once you have assembled the ingredients, it is very easy to make.

Serves 4-6

1.2 kg/3lbs of stewing beef cut into large chunks
2 tbs spoons coconut oil
8 shallots or 2 onions, chopped
2 small packs of coconut milk (I don’t use as much as other recipes as it gets too oily)
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass. bashed and cut into two
3 star anise
4 cloves
2 inch stick of cinnamon
1 tsp tamarind paste (concentrate)
4 tbsp kerisik (see below)
salt

Paste
meat from 1 small coconut, grates or 4tbsp desiccated coconut
6 garlic cloves
6 large red chillies – not the hot ones, or dried ones soaked in water for 1/2 hour)
1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
1 inch galangal, peeled and chopped
1 inch turmeric root, peeled and chopped or 1 tsp ground turmeric

kerisik
Take the meat from one small coconut, chop finely in a blender, or 4 tbsp desiccated coconut, and dry fry until golden brown and then blend again with a little water until it makes an aromatic coconut paste. Set aside.

First, put all the paste ingredients into a pestle and mortar and pound, or into a blender with a little water, and mix up into a paste.

Then heat oil in a thick pan (I use a le creuset) and fry the spice paste for a couple of minutes before adding the onions. When they are soft, add the cubed meat and quickly brown and seal.

Then pour in the coconut milk, topping up with water until the meat is well covered. Add the lime leaves, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and lemon grass. Add some salt to taste and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let it simmer gently, uncovered for an hour or so, so that some of the sauce evaporates.

After an hour, add the tamarind and the kerisik, three-quarters cover the pot so that some more liquid can escape and simmer gently for a further couple of hours, checking and stirring every now and then to make sure it doesnt stick. If it is still too liquid after three hours, then turn up the heat and boil away some of the liquid.

Serve with rice and a salad.

The rendang should be 'dry'

The rendang should be ‘dry’

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