This is a long-cooked stew, with the beef simmered for 2-3 hours in coconut milk. Most of the liquid boils away, and you are left with a thick, rich-tasting, spice-laden sauce, in which the meat is no longer boiling but almost frying gently. The sauce is then all absorbed into the meat, which becomes moist, almost black, and very tender. In Malaysia, the meat is usually either beef or chicken, but the other ingredients differ from one state to the next. In some areas, tamarind water is added, in others spices like cinnamon, cumin and cardamom are used.
Ingredients: (Serves 8 – 10)
1 tbsp of raw pressed coconut oil
1.5kg of boneless beef (preferably brisket or good stewing steak, cut into 2cm cubes).
800ml of coconut milk
2 x medium onions
1cm piece of galangal (or ginger)
5 x kaffir lime leaves
Salt to taste
2 x stalks of lemongrass, cut across in half
1 turmeric leaf (optional)
4 tbsp of kerisik (http://globaltableadventure.com/recipe/toasted-coconut-paste-for-curries-kerisikl/)
My kerisik didn’t work and ended up with fried, blended, desiccated fresh coconut – but good luck! 🙂
If you’re making kerisik, add 1 x medium fresh coconut to your ingredients.
6 x garlic cloves
8 x large red chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh root ginger
2 tsp chopped turmeric root or 1 tsp of ground turmeric
To make the paste, blend together the garlic, 6 of the chillies, ginger, and turmeric in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Add the coconut oil into a pan and melt gently. Add the chopped onions with some salt and pepper, then add the paste and stir.
Add the beef and stir round for a few minutes, then add the coconut milk, galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass, and a sprinkle of more salt, and the rest of the raw chopped chilli to give it a bit of heat (I also added some chilli powder at this point but not much, it’s not meant to be very spicy! 🙂 ).
Bring to the boil on a moderate heat. Stir once and then leave to bubble very gently for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom, until the liquid has nearly all gone! (I had to wait around 3.5 hours).
Then add the turmeric leaf (if using) and add the kerisik (you’ll see that the coconut absorbs a lot of the leftover liquid almost immediately).
Stir again, and let simmer for around another 20 minutes or until the liquid is nearly all gone.
Take out the piece of galangal and the leaves, and serve with rice. In many parts of Malaysia, it is the custom to eat rendang with compressed rice.