Rendang is a spicy meat dish which originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia, and has become popular in Malaysia and other South Asian countries. An 2011 online poll conducted by CNN International for by 35,000 people chose Rendang as the Number 1 dish of their ‘World’s 50 Most Delicous Foods’ list. How exciting when I read about it because Rendang is also one of my favourite dishes.
This is a dry Malaysian style Beef Rendang recipe (which according to Minangkabau tradition, a true rendang is a dry one). Beef is slowly simmered with coconut milk and a mixture of lemongrass, galangal, garlic, turmeric, ginger and chilies, then left to stew for a few hours to create this dish of tender, flavorful beef. When the meat is first cooked in spicy coconut milk, the gulai (curry) is light yellow colour. After the coconut milk is partly evaporated, it will turn brown. Finally, when the liquid completely evaporated, the color turns to dark brown almost black in color, then you have rendang.
If cooked properly, dry rendang can last for one to four weeks at room temperature. That’s because Rendang was originally created as a method of preserving meat. Maybe that’s why Rendang always taste better the next day!
- 700g Beef, cut into 4cm cubes
- 550ml thick Coconut Milk
- 400ml Water
- 1 Turmeric Leaf, shredded and knotted
- 1 piece Dried Tamarind Skin (asam keping)
- 2-3 Kaffir Lime Leaves
- 2 stalks Lemongrass, crushed
- 6 Shallots, sliced
- 3 cloves Garlic, sliced
- 4 tablespoon finely Grated Coconut, for kerisik
- 3-4 tablespoon oil
- 15 Dried Chillies, soaked
- 3cm Galangal
- 3cm Ginger
- 1cm Fresh Turmeric (or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder)
- 1 teaspoon Ground Fennel
- 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 2½ tablespoon Ground Coriander
- Salt to taste
- Grind the rempah (ground spices) ingredients in a food processor or use a pestle and mortar.
- Marinate beef with grinded rempah for 15 minutes.
- Toast grated coconut on a pan on low heat, until it turns brown and very fragrant.
- Heat oil in a heavy-based pot on medium heat and fry shallots and garlic until fragrant and soft. Add lemongrass and marinated beef. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add water, coconut milk, kerisik, turmeric leaf, tamarind skin and kaffir lime leaves. Bring to boil, the curry will be light yellowish colour. Continue simmering over low heat for about 3 hours. Add salt to taste. The colour will turn to brown after coconut milk has evaporated. Stir occasionally so that the curry does not stick to the pot.
- The rendang is ready when the colour turns dark brown and thick, and beef is tender.