Recipes from Malaysia: Beef Rendang


I was really looking forward to this dish, because it had such an interesting combination of flavors, plus it was totally devoid of shrimp paste. It didn't disappoint me, although my fat-hating husband thought differently. Short ribs, of course, are a pretty fatty cut so if you're like him you could probably make this with a leaner meat. There would be a slight hit to the authenticity of the dish, but I'm thinking that there's probably such a thing as someone in Malaysia who has made Beef Rendang with a piece of sirloin instead of short ribs, and I honestly don't think you'll notice much difference beyond the lesser degree of fat.

Here's how you make it:

First, you need galangal. You can buy this stuff dried but I seem to recall it's exorbitantly expensive--I happened to find some at the co-op this time, though they don't always carry it. If your grocery store has it it's probably going to be near the ginger and lemongrass. It looks a little bit like peeled ginger and it's usually kept in water.

Once you have your galangal, chop it up roughly along with some shallots, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and dried, soaked red chili peppers. Put everything into a food processor and blend into a paste.

Now heat the oil in a wok or frying pan and add the paste. Drop in the cinnamon, cloves, star anise and cardamom. Fry until fragrant.
Add the beef and some white ends of lemongrass that you've mercilessly pounded flat (this helps the flavor get into the stock). Stir for a minute or so, then add the coconut milk, tamarind and water. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the meat is close to being done.
Add the kaffir lime leaves, coconut flakes and palm sugar and stir until blended.
Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 60 to 90 minutes or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Add salt to taste and serve.

There were a lot of complex flavors in this recipe, and I really liked it. I was the odd man out, though. I actually do think it would be worth doing again, as I said, with a different cut of meat, because the flavor profile was pretty interesting and unique. You can decide for yourself which cut to use, but I don't think you'll be disappointed with the results (unless you're terrified of fat, like some people I know).

Here's the printable recipe:




Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pound boneless beef short ribs, cut into cubes
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 4-inch lengths and pounded flat
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp tamarind pulp, soaked in some warm water
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
  • 6 tbsp toasted coconut
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 shallots
  • 1 inch galangal (I got mine at the co-op; if they have it you can find it kept in water next to the ginger)
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, white part only
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 10 to 12 dried chilies, soaked in warm water and deseeded

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop the shallots, galangal, (unpounded) lemongrass, garlic, ginger and dried chilies. Put them all into a food processor and blend into a paste.
  2. Heat the oil and add the paste with the cinnamon, cloves, star anise and cardamom. Fry until fragrant.
  3. Now add the beef and the pounded lemongrass. Stir for a minute or so, then add the coconut milk, tamarind and water. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the meat is close to being done.
  4. Add the kaffir lime leaves, coconut flakes and palm sugar and stir until blended.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 60 to 90 minutes or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Add salt to taste and serve.



2 comments:

animalia said...

I guess no one ever told your husband that fat is flavor.

Rober Dombale said...

The dish looks very attractive, I will prepare for dinner this weekend.
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