Saturday, 4 May 2013

Beef Rendang

I'm Malaysian but if you've been following my blog, you'd noticed that I rarely cook Malay, Indian, Nyonya food...well food that involves a long list of herbs and spices. I love spicy Malaysian food but Malaysian cooking is tedious. In Malaysia, we take such food for granted because it's so readily available and cheap, it never once crossed my mind that I want to start grinding spices to make my own curries. Besides, we can buy fresh ready-ground herbs and spices from the wet market with no artificial additives or preservatives added. Spoilt, I know =P

But I'm not in Malaysia now, I can either pay a hefty amount of money (as compared to what you pay in Malaysia) for a meh Malaysian meal or I can try making some myself. I saw this beef rendang recipe at Lizzie's blog and thought I had to make it.

Beef Rendang 1

Rendang is extremely popular in Malaysia and is one of my favourite meat dishes for nasi lemak. This dish is actually originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia and it involves cooking the meat in spices, coconut milk and kerisik (toasted grated coconut in Malay) for several hours until dry. The slow simmering and then "frying" process makes the meat extremely tender and flavourful. I made a few minor changes and added some tamarind paste as seen at Bee's Rasa Malaysia. Time consuming, but so worth it.

Beef Rendang 7

It's even better the next day.

Ingredients: serves 4
  • 1kg beef - chopped into small chunks
  • 5 tbs cooking oil
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 6 tbs unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves (I used dried) - thinly sliced, you can soak the dried leaves in warm water to soften the leaves a little before slicing.
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tbs sugar/palm sugar or to taste (I used black treacle plus 1 tsp sugar)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Spice paste:
  • 5 shallots
  • 1 inch galangal
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 4 stalks lemongrass - white part only
  • 10 dried red chilies - soaked in warm water, seeded or not (your choice!)

  • Soak tamarind paste in 1 cup of warm water for about 5-10 mins. Remove the seeds after the pulp is softened.
Beef Rendang 3
  • Roughly chop all ingredients for spice paste. Place everything into a food processor and blend until a paste is formed. I added about 2 tbs of oil to help the blending process.
Beef Rendang 2
  • Add the rest of the oil to a large pot, add spice paste, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise and cardamom pods. Fry until fragrant on low heat.
  • Mix in the meat.
Beef Rendang 4
  • Pour in coconut milk, tamarind juice and simmer on medium heat, uncovered.
Beef Rendang 5
  • While meat is simmering, prepare the kerisik by adding the unsweetened dessicated coconut to a heated pan/ wok. Stir continuously until golden brown.
Beef Rendang 6
  • Add kerisik, kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves and sugar to simmering meat. Leave to cook for 1 1/2 hrs uncovered.
  • Turn the heat up to high and let it cook for a further 1/2 hr. Stir frequently.
  • The liquid should have almost evaporated off. When it has done so and the oil has separated, fry the beef in this oil, stirring so that it doesn't stick. It should be thick and very dark brown.

Beef Rendang 8
Beef rendang served with pandan flavoured rice, stir-fried pickled cabbage and a sunny side up.

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