Thursday 13 December 2007

Beef Rendang

I love curry and like many people, I used to make them using the widely available curry pastes in the market. But since I first gave it a try, I have to say that there's something satisfying about making your own curry paste from scratch. So as far as possible, I try to do exactly that although sometimes, when in a crunch, I will still use the ready-made stuff. In particular, I find the Mae Ploy brand from Thailand unbeatable. In fact, when I took cooking classes in Bangkok, the chefs there even recommended that we use it.

For dinner this past weekend, I chose to make a Beef Rendang, a curry that originated from Indonesia and is traditionally made with buffalo. The hallmark of this curry is that the gravy is extremely thick, almost dry even. This is one of M's favourites and it is one of the rare times that I ever see him order red meat.

If you can find the ingredients, making the spice paste is not hard at all. I suppose if you were to remain true to tradition you would make this using a mortar and pestle. I'm not one to shun modern conveniences, however, so I whipped mine up in a food processor. If you do the same, the active preparation time is only 15 minutes or so and the rest of the time the rendang just simmers slowly in its pot. You have to be careful towards the end, though, as when the curry dries, it is prone to scorching. Thus, it is prudent to stir constantly when the rendang is almost done.

The rendang is delicious with a side of rice or even some crusty baguette which you can use to soak up the sauce.

Beef Rendang
From Shiok!

1 kg rump or stewing steak, cut into large chunks
800 ml coconut milk
3 stalks lemongrass
6 lime leaves
4 slices galangal (blue ginger)
1 tsp salt

Spice paste
5 tbsp freshly grated coconut
8 dried chilies, soaked till soft
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp minced ginger

To prepare the spice paste, fry coconut in a dry wok over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until light brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Grind with remaining spice paste ingredients until fine.

Combine spice paste with all the beef and other ingredients in a large heavy-based pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beef is tender and gravy is very thick and shiny with oil. Serve hot.

Serves 2-4


Grace Ediza Virlouvet said...

Ohh I love rendang, I first tasted it in the hotel we stayed when we arived in KL, and it became a hit to me and my husband but I havent made it yet! I will try ur recipe, but still have to find the ingredients. Thanks!

Barbara said...

We were in Malaysia this past March and LOVED the food, especially beef rendang. I am so going to try your recipe.