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Friday Food: Indonesian Beef Rendang

There was no way I would marry a half-Indonesian guy and not learn how to cook Indonesian dishes! It has become one of my biggest pleasures in life, especially since I have the new Jamie Oliver food processor and I can make my own boemboes (spice pastes)!

I’ve made this rendang recipe twice now, but this last time I’ve added, by mistake, too much water ūüôĀ So it had a bit of sauce, while a rendang should be sauce-less and sticky. But the taste was the same: divine! I seriously think this is one of the tastiest dishes ever! And, the best thing is, you can freeze the rendang for later because, with each passing week, the dish tastes better and better! It’s true, we’ve tried it! In all fairness, we did only go like two weeks until we took it out of the freezer, but you could already taste the difference: the flavors were so much deeper and richer, and the meat soooo tender and lovely!

I’ve made¬†Sajoer Groenten (sajoer vegetables) and also Semur Ayam (chicken stewed in soy sauce) on the side and served with fluffy white rice, cause we are a big¬†family and we love¬†eating until our stomachs hurt. I will be posting recipes for these other dishes too, soon!

Here’s what you’ll need for the Rendang:

  • ¬†3 lemongrass stalks
  • 2 inch ginger root (you can -and should- also add some galangal, but I couldn’t find it at our store this time..)
  • 3-4 red chillies (I took the seeds out)
  • 3 medium onions (or 2 big ones) cut in fours
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 900 grams beef¬†shanks or shortribs cut into large cubes
  • 1 can coconut milk (400 ml)
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 6 tbsp toasted coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Ok, lets do this!

1. First, the spice paste: Remove the layers of the lemongrass until you get to the white, soft part. You break that and dump it in the food processor, along with the ginger, chilies, onions and garlic. Blend until you get a very fine paste, scraping the bowl down from time to time.

2. When the paste is finished, bring that to a stew pan where you’ve heated up some oil. Add the stick of cinnamon and the cardamom pods and stir fry for 10 minutes. (I’ve also added 3 extra garlic cloves cause, you know.. we like it hot:D). ¬†If the mixture starts burning, add a little bit of water.

3. Add the beef, mix everything and fry for 1 minute.

4. Add the coconut milk, water and tamarind paste. When the meat is cooked through, add the kaffir leaves, sugar and toasted coconut. Ah, and salt to taste! Simmer, under a lid, for 2-3 hours. The liquid will start to evaporate and the sauce will begin to caramelize. Your rendang is finished when there is almost no sauce left and the meat is dark brown.

TIP: Let it sit overnight, it will be SO much better the second day, because the flavors will evenly distribute into the meat. And, if you have some left, freeze it and try it over a month. Let me know if you notice the difference!

 
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