Thursday, August 7, 2008

Easy Beef Rendang

This is an old favorite from my Malaysia years back in 1990-1991 ish. I must've consumed at least fifty different versions of both beef and chicken rendang with varying degrees of delight. The high end places such as the tourist hotels like the Regent & Shangri-la tend to serve a wonderful quality meat but the sauce can be on the tame side and whilst the street hawkers can use some rather dubious cuts of 'beef', the flavors and fragrance from these vendors can't be matched. Such is the demand for the 'rendang' flavor you can even buy a McRendang from the McDonalds in Kuala Lumpur... and I did... often!

The recipe is a very loose adaptation (you trying buying candlenuts in Publix!) of one that features in one of my oldest Malaysian cookery books, the sadly out of print, 'Traditional Malaysian Cuisine'. You could try ebay for this brilliant book which has authentic recipes for Chinese, Nonya & Malay regional cookery but, word to the wise, cookbook shopping on ebay is addictive.

Recipe Ingredients (serves 6)

For the Paste

2 tbs curry powder

1 onion finely minced

1 heaped tsp of minced garlic

1 heaped tsp of lemon grass

1 heaped tsp of ginger

3 red chillies finely minced

1 3/4 lbs of lean braising steak

1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
1tbs soy sauce
2 tbs water
1 can of coconut milk

Recipe Directions

  • In a heavy based oven proof casserole, heat & cook the paste ingredients until fragrant (don't worry if the pan looks a little charred up on the bottom).

  • Add half the coconut milk and continue stirring and frying until it separates.

  • Add the wet mixture of salt, sugar, soy sauce & water along with the meat and stir.

  • Pour on the rest of the coconut milk and cook in a 325 degree oven until the meat is meltingly tender and the gravy is rich and thick (2-3 hours). Give it a couple of stirs during cooking to help it along.

  • Serve with steamed jasmine or basmati rice.

Trust me tips: Try the gourmet markets or Asian supermarkets for convient jars of minced lemongrass, ginger & kaffir lime leaves - they are so easy!

If you like things a little sweeter you could add some shredded coconut an hour or so before the end of cooking time to really jack up the coconut hit.

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