Following my last post, The MasterChef in X, C and A… thanks girls 😀, I received some requests from readers to post the beef rendang recipe.
Mmmm….what timely moment, I thought. Actually I had wanted to write about this some months back, but due to my somewhat busy schedule the last 8 months, I had to shove a multitude of things aside. That does not mean that I’m less busy now, but I’m trying to clear as many of my backlogged stories and pictures as possible 😀
Slowly but surely, eh?
I was watching Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey on BBC Two one evening. In one of the episodes in his ambitious journey to South East Asia, he concocted several visually stunning well known and less known recipes of the Far East. During his visit to Malaysia, he asked the locals if they were to name a favourite dish, what it would be, the majority of them said, “Beef Rendang”. That was a gentle reminder for me to include this classic dish inspired by the most fragrant ingredients in one of our Sunday lunches.
Rendang is a popular festive dish in most parts of South East Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and the southern parts of the Philippines and Thailand). It is originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia.
By the way, if you are planning a dinner for friends and are looking for a hassle-free but yet tasteful dish, beef rendang is the answer. Never cook your rendang on the day you are inviting guests to your house. The rendang will taste much superior with the intense fragrant sipping through and coating the meat the day after. That’s why I mentioned “hassle-free” on the day of the planned dinner, so you can just about “goyang kaki” (literally meant “to be idle”) on D-day by just heating and platting up the rendang 😀
The Food of Malaysia
I will take you through the culinary journey of a good beef rendang recipe, which has been tried and tested. No instant boemboes, just The Real McCoy, all fresh or at least, nearly fresh ingredients…
I got this recipe from Periplus World Cookbooks “The Food of Malaysia” Authentic Recipes from the Crossroads of Asia, with some changes and adaption here and there.
1 kg topside beef, cubed (I used the cubed carbonades for making Flemish beef stew)
6 cm cinnamon sticks
8 star anise
4 cardammom pods
500 ml coconut milk
2 tsp tamarind juice (please use concentrated tamarind juice)
Few kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced
4 Tbsp kerisik (this is one of the secret elements to good tasting rendang)
2 turmeric leaves (daun kunyit), very finely sliced – another secret ingredient
1.5 tsp sugar (I used brown sugar)
Salt to taste
4 cm galangal
4 cm fresh turmeric root
8 lemon grass (4 blended and 4 bruised/ crushed)
4 cloves garlic
4 cm ginger
20 dried chillies, soaked in hot water
The visual effects –
The ingredients you will need, kerisik, samples of the turmeric leaves and the plant. The turmeric leaves are often not readily available in most Asian stores. This is one of the secret ingredients to an authentic beef rendang. If you can’t find these leaves, use plenty of kaffir lime leaves.
How to make the real kerisik: Dry roast 600 g grated fresh coconut in a pan, with no oil, stirring constantly until golden brown. Let the coconut cool, and then grind finely until the oil is released.
If you can’t get grated fresh coconut, like me, use desiccated coconut and process the same way as the grated fresh coconut.
Clean, peel and chop the spice paste ingredients, then puree in a blender until really fine.
Heat the oil; add the blended spice paste, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise and cardommom pods. Sautee for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the beef, coconut milk and tamarind juice. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until the meat is almost cooked.
Add the finely sliced kaffir lime leaves, turmeric leaves, kerisik, brown sugar and salt. Lower the heat and simmer until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up. Do check the meat every now and then that it does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan too much. For the amount of beef I was using, the cooking time was in the region of 3 hours, at the least.
I like my rendang with steamed rice and some homemade acar, or something tangy, like chutney on the side, or simply, cut cucumbers.
This is what I called, Comfort Food on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Mmmmm….. YUMMY!
I hope you will try this out.
Enjoy the rest of the week.