(Indonesian beef simmered in coconut milk)
Rendang is an intensely flavorful dish often served on special occasions. The ingredients used to season it vary widely from region to region. Pick and choose as you have available.
4 to 6 servings
- Onion or shallots, minced -- 1/2 cup
- Chile peppers, minced -- from 5 to 20
- Garlic, minced -- 3 to 4 cloves
- Salt -- 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric -- 1/2 teaspoon
- Oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Beef chuck or round, cut into thin slices -- 2 pounds
- Ginger or galangal, sliced into thin rounds -- 2 or 3 rounds
- Lemon grass, white part only, pounded flat -- 2 stalks
- Sugar -- 1 tablespoon
- Salt -- to season
- Coconut milk -- 4 cups
- Place the onion, chiles, garlic, salt and turmeric into a food processor or blender with a little water and process to a puree.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high flame. Add the onion puree and saute until fragrant and some of the excess water has cooked out. Add beef and continue to sauté until meat is lightly browned and the onion puree is reduced to a paste, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the beef is very tender and the sauce is reduced to a thick gravy. It will be necessary to add a little water now and then if the sauce becomes too dry before the meat is tender.
- During the cooking process, oil will separate out from the coconut milk and rise to the top of the dish, and rendang is typically fairly oily. You can skim some of the excess oil from the top of the dish if you like. But be sure to leave some for both flavor and for the next step.
- When the meat is very tender, allow the remaining water to evaporate out so the meat is frying slowly in the coconut oil that has rendered out. Let the meat fry this way for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and sugar and serve with steamed rice or ketupat (rice cakes).
- Rendang seasonings:
- Rendang is typically made fiery hot with chilies. Adjust the amount to your liking.
- The following ingredients can be pureed with the onions and garlic if you like: shredded and toasted coconut; 2 teaspoons ground cumin; 2 tablespoons coriander.
- The onions and garlic can be eliminated if you prefer. Simply mix all the ingredients together, skipping the sautéing step, and simmer until the meat is tender.
- One or more of the following ingredients can be added with the coconut milk if you like: 3 or 4 kaffir lime leaves; 3 or 4 whole cloves; 1 teaspoon cinnamon; 4 or 5 curry leaves; 1 or 2 tablespoons tamarind paste; 2 or 3 crushed kemiri (candlenuts); 1 or 2 slices ginger; 2 or 3 bay leaves.
- Rendang Kambing (Beef rendang): Use lamb instead of beef.
- Rendang Ayam (Chicken rendang): Use boneless chicken breasts or thighs.