Beef Rendang holds the top 1 spot in CNN’s 2011 World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods‘, it is a spicy meat dish that originated in Indonesia. It was created by the Minang’s (people from the Minangkabau ethnic group in Indonesia) as a dish served during ceremonial occasions and to honour special guests. It proved to be good thus its popularity spread over the region like in Malaysia, Singapore, Southern Thailand and Southern Philippines.
The cooking method and ingredients of rendang is quite complicated, any meat can be used but the most common ones are beef and chicken. The dish contains a lot of spices like garlic, shallot, chillies, ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemon grass to name some, these spices also serve as a natural organic preservative that’s why this dish can last for four weeks with no refrigeration. Rendang also takes a lot of time to cook and the really good ones usually four hours to prepare as meat are slowly cooked in coconut milk and spices until the liquid dries out, this process makes the sauce caramelize and the meat to absorb all of the spices and become really tender. This cooking method is the one responsible making the flavours complex and unique.
There are two types of rendang the Dried one which is also called the true rendang and the Wet Rendang or what is called Kalio. While both have nearly the same ingredients the cooking times is much different, dry rendang as I had said is prepared for four hours at least while Kalio can only consume one hour of your time.
I am lucky that I had tried these types of dishes when I lived in Malaysia and have lots of Malaysian and Indonesian friends that can prepare this for me; it certainly enhanced my culinary experience and develops appreciation for very complex tastes and textures. Now for those who haven’t tried this give it a shot and see why it was placed on the number one spot
1 kg stewing beef, cubed
1 cup desiccated coconut
6 pcs red chillies, chopped
2 pcs onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 thumb size galangal, sliced
1/2 thumb size ginger, sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
1 turmeric leaf, finely chopped
6 pcs lime leaves, sliced
4 tbsp curry powder
1 cup beef stock
1 cup coconut cream
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp cooking oil of choice
1. In a blender pour the oil then add the chillies, onion, garlic, galangal, ginger and lemongrass, blend to a paste.
2. In a pan add desiccated coconut and lightly toast. Once toasted place in a food processor to grind.
3. In a heavy pot fry the spice paste, lime leaves and turmeric leaves. Stir continuously for 3 minutes or until very fragrant.
4. Add the beef, ground desiccated coconut, curry powder, coconut cream, soy sauce and beef stock. Bring to a boil and simmer in very low heat for 2 hrs.
or until sauce dries out. While cooking don’t forget to mix it regularly to prevent beef sticking in the bottom of the pan, also if water is not enough add several tablespoons to have some moisture.
5. Season with salt then serve with freshly steamed rice.