I first had Beef Rendang in Singapore a couple of years ago. It was a taste sensation. For the uninitiated, it is a tender, delicious spicy dish from Indonesia. The longer you keep Rendang, the better the flavour. It matures and mellows. Second or third day is definitely best.
There are many recipes for Rendang. They vary from region to region and some areas like it 'wetter' than others. My preference is for dry. Served with Jasmine Rice and sliced red onion it takes some beating. It freezes very well but when defrosted, make sure you heat it up slowly and thoroughly and don't overcook.
6 or so shallots or a couple of medium Onions.
3-4 gloves of Garlic to suit your taste.
Red Chillies. Now recipes vary a lot. Some say 10 or more but I like to taste my food and not have it nuked with searing heat so start with 2 or 3 and work from there. I'm talking medium heat chillies here, not Scotch Bonnets etc.
1 thumb sized piece of Ginger, peeled and chopped.
2 sticks of Lemon Grass, outer layer removed and chopped.
1 or 2 Tbsn of Veg Oil.
2 Tsp ground Cumin.
1 Tsp Ground Turmeric.
5 or 6 Cardamon Pods crushed and husks discarded.
(Keep seeds only) I like Cardamon so up the quantity a bit.
1 Cinnamon stick.
1.5 lbs Stewing Steak.
400ml tin of Coconut Milk.
Cup of water.
Half a cup of Desiccated Coconut. (Not the sweetened type).
Red Onion finely sliced.
Small amount of chopped Coriander.
Rice to serve.
Blend the first batch of ingredients, ie. Shallots, Garlic, Chillies, Ginger and Lemon Grass, in a food processor adding half the oil to make into a thick paste. If it isn't happening, you can add a small amount of water. I have found it better to use water than more oil as it is easy to make the dish too oily.
Heat a pan and add the remaining oil then add the paste. Fry for a couple of minutes then add the dry spices ie. Cumin and Turmeric etc and continue to fry for further minute or so until you can smell the aromas coming out.
Add the meat and brown all over. Then add the Coconut Milk and some water. Bring the whole lot to a boil then turn the heat down. Simmer for about an hour and a half or until your meat is just tender. If the mix gets too dry and starts to stick, just add a little more water but be careful not to overdo it. It does need to be the consistency you see in the photographs. About 20 mins before the end of cooking, take the Dessicated Coconut and toast or dry fry over a moderate heat in a pan. Keep going until the Coconut turns a lovely nutty brown colour. Then add to the Rendang mix.
Serve with Rice and sprinkle with thinly sliced red onion (this does make the dish taste even better in my opinion) and chopped Coriander.
You can make this a day or two before it's needed or if you're pushed for time, make the Onion and Chilli paste the day before.