Jun 9, 2011

Beef Rendang : Spicy Beef Stew with Roasted Coconut

OH. MY. GOD. I don't usually use 'Oh My God' to describe satisfaction, but this has OMG stamped all over. The recipe and instructions are from Rasa Malaysia. I have been so busy trawling her archives that I have ignored all other sites bookmarked. She has a book out and I can't wait to buy it as soon as it releases in Europe.

This rendang was so aromatic, you could smell it from our common stairway! The 'curry' boils, simmers and then reduces till it is almost fried in its own sauce. What you are left with is beef so tender and infused with all the taste and aromas of the spices.The taste is a hearty balance of creamy, spicy with just the right hint of tangy and sweet.

The ingredients list may look intimidating, but they are not that hard to find. I didn't have 'kerisik', so I bought some dried coconut flakes and toasted them till brown. And I didn't de-seed my chillies. Seeds are the WHOLE POINT! There is nothing like 'too spicy'. If you disagree, go eat a cucumber. And oh you will need patience! It took me 2.5 hours to cook this batch. I will try cooking it in a pressure cooker next time.

What I love best about Asian cooking is it's versatility. A pinch of this, a pinch of that. If something goes wrong, there is always something else at hand to save it. ( In my case potatoes. I haven't not seen potatoes in any beef rendang recipe but I had a little accident called -too much salt- which the potatoes troubleshot quite effectively)

700 grams boneless beef short ribs (cut into cubes)
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch long)
3 cloves
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods
1 lemongrass (cut into 4-inch length and pounded)
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 cup water
2 teaspoons tamarind pulp (soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds )
6 kaffir lime leaves (very finely sliced)
6 tablespoons kerisik ( toasted grated coconut)
1 tablespoon sugar/palm sugar or to taste
Salt to taste

Spice Paste:
5 shallots
1 inch galangal
3 lemongrass (white part only)
5 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
10-12 dried chilies (soaked in warm water and seeded)

  1. Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine.
  2. Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry them until aromatic.
  3. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked.
  5. Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), sugar/palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.
  6. Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up.
  7. Add salt to taste. If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste.
  8. Serve with steamed rice.