Rendang is a Malaysian dish full of spices and coconut. It is slow cooked until it is incredibly flavoursome and the coconut is thick. I’ve tweaked it a bit here because it usually involves buying ingredients specially, which often I’m not organised enough to have done. However, if you do have lemon grass and fresh chillies, use them. You should be able to get tins of coconut milk for a good price in the ‘world foods’ section of the supermarket. If you can only find expensive branded ones, use creamed coconut from a block and mix with warm water to make your own version at a fraction of the price.
Cook this one for a long time, up to 12 hours, and then if possible leave overnight to absorb the flavours. This is a very easy dish and a lot of the work can be done the night before if you want to make it for dinner.
|2||onions, finely diced|
|3 cloves||of garlic, finely diced|
|1 stalk||of lemon grass or 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest (if waxed, give the lemon a vigorous scrub under the hot tap first)|
|1||fresh red chilli, chopped (or 2 dried red chillies, whole)|
|2 tbsp||brown sugar|
|1 tsp||tamarind syrup or lemon juice|
|½ tsp||ground ginger or 2-3cm piece of fresh ginger, grated|
|1 tsp||coriander seeds|
|1 tsp||cumin seeds|
|½ tsp||ground cloves|
|½ tsp||ground mace|
|1 tsp||vegetable oil|
|500g||stewing steak, cut into 3cm chunks|
|1 tbsp||soy sauce|
|1 tbsp||Thai fish sauce or 2 anchovies|
|1 x 400g tin||coconut milk|
|Salt and pepper|
You will need a hand blender or pestle and mortar and a slow-cooker.
Blend the onion, garlic, lemon grass, fresh chilli (if using), sugar, tamarind, fresh ginger (if using) and all the spices in a hand blender or pestle and mortar. Don’t add the dried chillies. Add the oil to make a paste. Rub into the cubed stewing steak and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.
Put the marinated meat in the slow-cooker crock. Add the dried chilli. Drizzle the soy sauce and Thai fish sauce over the meat and stir to coat well. Pour the coconut over the meat and add the 200ml water so that the meat is just covered.
Cook on high for 10-12 hours. In the early stages of cooking the coconut milk will look curdled and lumpy. Don’t panic. Like adolescence, it’s just a stage. By the time 8 hours are up, it will be well rounded and smooth as the sauce thickens and reduces. At 10 hours, it will have almost completely reduced to barely coat the tender meat. By 12 hours, it’s so beautiful you’ll be putting it all over Instagram to show it off.
Serve with steamed rice. It reheats very well so is even better the next day when the flavours have developed even more. The oil in the coconut may rise to the top and you can skim the excess off if you prefer.
Note: If you can’t find tinned coconut milk, use a quarter of a block of creamed coconut mixed with 300ml of warm water instead.