Friday 15 March 2013

Rendang - Labour of Love

Rendang is a spicy meat dish originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia. Along with the main meat (beef, chicken or mutton), rendang uses coconut milk and a curry paste of mixed ground spices: ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemon grass, garlic, shallot, chillies and other spices.

Recipe (serves 3-6)
Serondeng and Coconut Cream/Milk:
600g Coconut, grated (shaved off the hard dark skin first).
Take 120g of this coconut shavings and dry fry in a pan without oil so they become serondeng. Leave two tablespoons aside for Rempah.
Squeeze remaining 480g of coconut for number 1 milk (coconut cream) in a muslin cloth and set aside.
Add 230ml hot water and mix well into the coconut shavings: when cool enough to manage, squeeze for number 2 milk (coconut milk). Set aside. Discard the coconut shavings.

600g Beef Oyster Blade (Brisket,  Shin, Topside or any stewing cut with tendons and some fat marbling). I’ve used beef but you can use Lamb (Mutton) instead.
Season the meat for 2 hours with
1 teaspoon Salt.
2 teapoons Sugar.
1½ teaspoons Assam (Tamarind Pulp, seedless).
120g Serondeng (dry-fried coconut shavings).

Whole Spices:
1 Tumeric Leaf.
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves.
1 stalk Lemongrass, bashed lightly (lower white part only).
2 slices Galangal (blue ginger).

Rempah (spices to be ground into a paste):
1 stalk Lemongrass, sliced (lower white part only).
2 slices Galangal.
2 Garlic.
2 tablespoons Serondeng (from the 120g fried coconut shavings above).
5 Red Chillies, sliced (deseed if you do not like too spicy).
15 Dried Chillies (soaked till soft and removed stems and seeds).
10 Shallots.
30g Old Ginger.

1-1½ tablespoons Palm Sugar (block form, cut into smaller pieces).
½ White Pepper Powder.
½-1 teaspoon Salt or Light Soy (according to your taste, omit even).
2 teaspoons Dark Soy Sauce.
2 tablespoons Oil.

1. Heat a claypot or saucepan and add in the oil. When oil is hot, add meat and stir-fry a few minutes till meat colour turn opaque.

2. Add in whole spices and rempah and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

3. Add in number 2 coconut milk and seasonings. Let it come to a boil, stirring occasionally.

4. Continue to cook uncovered for an hour, stirring every now and then to prevent bottom of pot and meat from burning.

5. Add in the coconut cream (number one milk) into the pot and stir well. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot.

6. Cook until the meat is very tender (up to another hour) and oil exudes out of the dish. The mixture should be almost dry of liquid but moist, as seen in the photos. Please check on the dish and stir occasionally to prevent burning. *The spices and serondeng make this dish very very susceptible to burning. One literally has to be near/at the stove all the time and that is why I termed it Labour of Love.

Happy labouring :)

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