Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2012 sees you having had a fantastic holiday, feeling well-rested, and now raring to go! First up this year, we have a guest post from our friend, Vanessa, with a delicious-sounding recipe for beef rendang. If you're trying to remember what rendang is, here is a picture from a previous post...
Ox cheek rendang, at the +65 Supper Club last year
Now it's over to Vanessa!
I boasted on Facebook a few days ago about an outstanding Rendang which The Husband spent an afternoon cooking. Having seen the wifely praise and a pretty dubious picture of the dish, Truffle kindly invited me to share the recipe. So thank you, Cinnamon and Truffle, for this opportunity to write a guest post. I’ve read Cinnamon and Truffle since it’s inception and enjoy the easy prose, the fantastic steering to London’s (and the world’s) good food and all the epicurean miscellany I glean.
Rendang is an Indonesian dish, which can now be found as extensively in Malaysia and Singapore. Originally a ceremonial dish which would be served to honoured guests, Rendang has cemented it’s place onto the menu of Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean restaurants in Asia and around the world. You can have Rendang made with all manner of meat – mutton, goat, chicken, liver – but we prefer Beef Rendang.
The key to Rendang is in the long, slow simmer. Initially, once the ingredients are fried together and the coconut milk and water added, it looks like an ordinary wet curry. 2½ hours later however, this has reduced into tender beef that falls apart at the slightest touch of a fork, covered with a sticky, dark and divinely fragrant sauce, which has completely infused the meat. It’s pretty much heaven in a pot. Soon to become heaven on your plate. Which then melts in your mouth. You can’t say better than that.
We had the Rendang with steamed rice, and fine beans cooked in Sambal Oelek (an Indonesian chilli paste). In hindsight, we ought to have had just plain steamed fine beans as I kept regretting the sweet sambal gatecrashing the Rendang party my taste buds were having.
I’ve reproduced the recipe below, which has been only slightly tweaked from Bill Granger’s very interesting Bill’s Everyday Asian.
The invitation to post on Cinnamon & Truffle is quite timely, as only last week The Husband and I discovered a restaurant in our local town of Southampton that serves fantastic Dosa. Until this discovery our closest Dosa experience had been in London, 90 minutes away by train! Dosa always reminds me of Cinnamon. We’ve known each other since our schooldays in Singapore when on a weekly basis I’d be at her parents’ home in Grange Gardens for a meal of Dosa and Sambar made by their amazing cook, Solai. This place nearly matched Solai’s Dosa. That’s saying something. No milky chicory coffee for afters though, worst luck!
2 red onions, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons grated ginger
6 large red chillis, 3 de-seeded, all roughly chopped
3 lemon grass stalks, white part only, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablebspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons turmeric
1.8kg stewing steak, diced
400 ml tin coconut milk (we use reduced fat, but full fat is fine too)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
Pulse the following to a paste in a food processor - the onion, garlic, ginger, chillis & lemon grass
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the paste and the cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add the stewing steak and cook over high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the beef is just sealed. Add the coconut milk, water, cinnamon sticks, tamarind paste, salt and sugar, and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2½ hours, stirring occasionally. It’s ready when the meat has started to break up and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Serves 6 with leftovers.