If you like curry but not too hot… this one is for you!
You can enjoy it with basmati rice, bread, roti, using it as a filling for pita, naan, tortillas, or any other flatbread.
Rendang is typically very thick, but if you prefer a saucier dish, you can add a little water in the end.
6-8 jalapeño chillies or 3-4 frozen chillies (I used 3 big fresh jalapeños)
1-1/2 cups sliced shallots (from 4 large shallots)
2 Tbs sliced garlic
1 Tbs sliced peeled fresh ginger
Whole spice blend:
4 whole cloves
4 whole green cardamom pods
2 whole star anise
1 3-inch-long cinnamon stick, snapped in half
Ground spice blend:
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup vegetable oil; more as needed
1.8 kg top blade beef chuck and short-rib mixed, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, then cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch pieces
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup tamarind concentrate
3 wild lime leaves, thinly sliced
2 medium lemongrass stalks, bruised with back of knife and tied in a knot
4 tsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
2-1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander, for garnish (optional)
Lime wedges, for garnish (optional)
Make the flavor base:
If using frozen chilies, put them in water until pliable, 2 to 3 minutes; then slit and seed them. Put the chillies, shallots, garlic, ginger and 1/4 cup water in a food processor and process to a coarse purée, about 3 minutes (if using whole chillies, you’ll still see little pieces of the skin).
Make the spice blend:
In a small bowl, combine the cloves, cardamom pods, star anise, and cinnamon pieces.
In a second small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, fennel, turmeric, and pepper.
Make the rendang:
Heat 2 Tbs of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-low heat until shimmering hot.
Add the whole spice blend and cook, stirring constantly, until the cinnamon sticks unfold (the cardamom may also crack open) 1 to 2 minutes; don’t let the spices burn.
Add another 2 Tbs of the oil and the ground spice blend and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture sizzles and becomes fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds more (if the spices stick to the pan, add a little more oil to prevent burning).
Add the remaining 1/2 cup oil and the flavor base and cook, stirring, until the purée is an intense reddish-brown, about 10 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium, add the beef and cook, stirring, to coat it with the spices, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, tamarind concentrate, lime leaves, and lemongrass and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, add the sugar and salt, and simmer, stirring occasionally for the first hour and then more frequently as the stew thickens, until the liquid is very thick and oil appears on its surface, about 1-3/4 hours.
The meat will not be fork-tender at this point.
Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is fork-tender, 20 to 30 minutes more (the oil will start frothing after 15 to 20 minutes).
Remove the lemongrass, cinnamon pieces, star anise, and as many cardamom pods and cloves as you can find.
Transfer the meat to a serving platter and garnish with the cilantro and lime wedges (if using).
***Beef rendang will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, but expect it to become drier and more intense as it sits. To re-heat, you can warm on stove-top. Add a little water if too dry.
Recipe posted by Amanda Conradie
Photo: Elize de Kock