Beef rendang is traditionally an Indonesian dish but it is also widely popular in Malaysia and Singapore where it is normally served with ketupat, a steamed rice parcel wrapped in woven palm leaves. The meat is cooked in a spice-laden coconut milk over a long period of time in gentle heat until almost all liquid has evaporated. This leave a dry, fragrant and meltingly tender beef. Although not really considered a stew due to the lack of any kind of liquid, but the comforting piquant spice makes this dish just seems like the perfect supper for a freezing night. For my version, I have added a stick of cinnamon which is not traditionally used but I think it does gives it an added warmth to the finished dish.
(updated on 30/03/13)
And just for an easy step-by-step visual of this dish, I've added the different stages of how the rendang should look during the cooking process.
For the Rempah (Spice Paste):
4 large red chillies, deseeded and chopped (feel free to add more chillies if you like it spicy)
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 medium onion, chopped
6 kaffir lime leaves or grated zest of a lime
6 candlenuts or macademia nuts
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh galangal
3 stem lemongrass, bruised and cut into 3 pieces
100g freshly grated or desiccated coconut
sunflower or groundnut oil
750g stewing steak (I use brisket for this), cut into large 3cm chunks
800ml coconut milk
1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Toast the grated or dessicated coconut in a dry frying pan over medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes, until lightly brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Set aside.
Pound all the ingredients for the rempah into a smooth paste with a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, blitz in a food processor.
Add the toasted coconut and season to taste.
The rendang is ready when the meat is tender and the sauce has almost dried up, leaving a thick consistency and is shiny with a thin layer of oil.
Serve hot with some steamed rice.