Beef rendang

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

When it comes to making the ever-popular rendang, patience is indeed a virtue. Persevere and you'll be richly rewarded with a dish of delicious complexity, writes Tony Tan.

  • 30 gm desiccated coconut
  • 30 gm ginger, finely chopped
  • 20 gm galangal, finely chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (white part only), finely chopped
  • 8 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 6 golden shallots, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 30 gm turmeric, finely chopped
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 700 gm beef oyster blade, cut into 5cm cubes
  • 425 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • To serve: steamed long-grain rice and steamed Asian greens
01   Dry-roast coconut in a frying pan over medium heat until evenly golden (5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool slightly.
02   Meanwhile, pound ginger, galangal and lemongrass to a smooth paste with a mortar and pestle. (You can do this in a food processor, adding 20ml water or as needed to form a smooth paste.)
03   Add chillies, shallots, garlic and turmeric and pound to a coarse paste. Set aside. Pound the toasted coconut with a clean mortar and pestle until slightly glossy. Set aside.
04   Heat vegetable oil in a wok (or a large shallow saucepan or a deep-sided frying pan) over medium-high heat, add spice mixture and stir often until aromatic (5 minutes).
05   Add beef and stir occasionally until the meat is well browned (5-7 minutes).
06   Add toasted coconut and cook for a minute, then add coconut milk, sugar and 500ml water. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously to prevent curdling.
07   Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender (2 hours).
08   Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and reserve. Stir sauce over medium-high heat until very thick (20-30 minutes), then return beef to wok, stir gently, season to taste with salt and serve with steamed rice and some steamed greens.

Note By all means increase the number of chillies to suit your taste. And for extra flavour, you can tie the stalk of the lemongrass into a knot and add it at step 6.

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