October 27, 2016
We at Spice Mountain have enjoyed countless curries over the years, from all around the globe as well as the Subcontinent. Out of all of them, few come close to this gem. Rendang originated on an island lying between Indonesia and Malaysia, and both countries count it among their 'national dishes'. The dish is basically beef cooked long and slow in coconut milk seasoned with spices. It is one of the most basic recipes on paper, but there are a few tricks to get it just right. The most important is to use large chunks of beef, as this allows the correct cooking time without the meat breaking up. We buy a prepared joint (of brisket or silverside, but with as little fat on it as possible) then cut it ourselves. Also, never brown the beef for a rendang – the dish relies on the meat not being sealed.
1First, make the spice paste. Put the shallots, chillis, galangal, turmeric, ginger and garlic into a blender, adding a little water to help the ingredients bind.
2Blend until you have a smooth, bright orange paste.
3Put the beef into a heavy casserole, and add the paste.
4Mix well, until the meat is thoroughly coated, before adding the coconut milk (give the cans a good shake before opening), the salt and the Rendang blend.
5Stir to bring everything together, and bring to a slow boil, before turning the heat down to a medium simmer.
6Now some patience comes in handy, as you can leave the pan for a good three hours. Keep an eye on it, though, it may need a stir.
7After this time the sauce will be thickening and greatly reduced, and the oil will be starting to separate from the sauce.
8Stir the pan, letting the whole thing fry gently in the separated oil for five minutes or so, until the sauce is sticking thickly to the chunks of meat.
9The meat should be so tender by now you can break it with a fork. At this point, your rendang is ready.
10Serve with lots of plain white rice, and a refreshing vegetable side dish.