Recipe: Beef Rendang
A few months ago, I bought a new cookbook to add to my (admittedly already huge) collection: Curries: Over 200 of the Best Recipes. This is designed as a student cookery book, and is laid out very simply with one recipe per page and no photographs. (Hardly detrimental to a book about curries, as they don’t really look particularly appetising!)
We went through a phase of picking out a different curry to try each week, with some brilliant results. The Malaysian Fish Curry was delicious, as well as some of the vegetarian dishes. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wishing to learn about making curry pastes from scratch, although maybe not purists as I suspect the authenticity of some well known dishes may be lacking.
By far the best dish we have sampled from this book, however, is the slowly simmered Beef Rendang. We have made this both on the hob and in the slow cooker, and it has turned out great both times. This is a lovely dinner to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon, when we made it last we shoved it in the slow cooker and went to the cinema. When we returned home our little flat smelled amazing!
Despite the super long cooking time, it is a simple dish to prepare. Firstly, the paste ingredients are whizzed in the processor until smooth (can you believe our local supermarket stocks fresh galangal?!). Then, you brown the meat in a hot pan. You need braising steak for this recipe, and I would pick out meat that isn’t too lean or it would be in danger of drying out. After frying off the paste, you just add all the other ingredients and leave to simmer until its realy thick and the coconut milk has split into a creamy coating on the meat with the coconut oil on top. It didn’t say to in the recipe but I skimmed a couple of ladlefuls of oil from the top of the curry and discarded them.
I served my beef rendang with basmati rice and steamed pak choi. I also added in some cubed potatoes in the last half hour of cooking time, because I ended up with too much sauce for the amount of meat in the pot. The potatoes absorbed the aromatic flavours beautifully.
Adapted from ‘The Student Cookbook: Curries’ (Hamlyn)
350g braising steak
2 large potatoes
2 cans coconut milk
1 tbsp sugar
4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
pinch dried chilli flakes
6 garlic cloves
big bit of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
medium bit of fresh galangal, roughly chopped
1tsp black peppercorns
4 cardamom pods
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed and roughly chopped
3 large onions
2 tbsp tamarind paste
Whiz the spice paste ingredients (excluding the onions and tamarind) in a food processor. Add the onions and tamarind paste and whiz to a wettish paste. Brown the meat on all sides; remove from pan. Add the spice paste to the hot pan and fry for a few minutes or until aromatic. Return the beef to the pan together with all the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for around 4 hours. Add the potatoes and simmer for a firther 1/2 hour. When the sauce is very thick and the oil has split out, skim off some of the oil and discard. Increase the heat and leave the beef to ‘fry’ until the sauce becomes a sticky coating. Serve woth steamed pak choi and basmati rice.