Simone Appetit: Rendang — a Malaysian treat
You know, there should be a song written about this recipe, it is so good. It is time consuming, which means less back rubs for the man. No help with homework, and maybe even a little Rendang in your child’s Hello Kitty lunch bags (with a soothing breath mint, it is spicy) but, in the end, they will all be so happy, you will be the recipient of back rubs and maybe even a little snack in your briefcase from the kids. (Hopefully not leftover Rendang.)
This dish originated in Malaysia. I am shocked and amazed there can be so many Malaysians because, seriously, Rendang takes some time, and that does take away from extracurricular activities.
Ingredients for base:
1 1/2 pound boneless beef chuck roast
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods
1 lemongrass (cut into 4 inch length and pounded. You really have to mash it)
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 cup water
2 teaspoons tamrindpulp (soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds )
6 kaffir lime leaves (very finely sliced)
6 tablespoons toasted coconut, unsweetened
1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
Salt to taste
Ingredients for the spice paste:
3 lemongrass (white part only)
5 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
4 dried chilies (soaked in warm water and seeded)
Preparation for spice paste:
Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine. Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir fry them until aromatic.
Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute. Now add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked. Add the kaffir lime leaves, toasted coconut, and sugar stirring to blend well with the meat.
Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 – 1 1 / 2 hours or until meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up. (Sorry editor about that ending preposition). Add salt to taste. If not sweet enough, add more sugar.
Serve immediately with steamed rice.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at firstname.lastname@example.org.