Beef rendang is a dry curry that is believed to be originated from an ethnic group in Indonesia called Minangkabau. Naturally, beef rendang is very common and essential for Malaysians, to me this is where you get to experience the proper flavours of Malaysia.
Think of melt in your mouth beef slowly cooked with aromatic Asian spices bathing in creamy coconut milk with an added tamarind skin/peel and turmeric leaves that lift up the flavours of the beef rendang.
The term rendang or specifically, merendang refers to a process of slow cooking on a small fire. Because of this method, be prepared not to be culinary shocked when a lot of cleaning is needed after making this recipe, especially if you simmer the curry without the lid.
My version of beef rendayumnn is a bit saucier because I have this habit of flooding my plate of rice with lots of curry. Because it is slightly wetter, the curry base is paler in colour as in comparison to dry rendang. Don’t skimp on the kerisik/desiccated coconut as it has a very distinctive texture and smoky flavour that is necessary in this dish.
Oh, this recipe freezes well and gets increasingly delicious the next day!
Level: You will survive
Spice paste to blend:
5 onions, peeled & cut
5 shallots, peeled & cut
4 cloves of garlic, peeled & cut
10 stalks of lemongrass bottom half (5 to blend, 5 to bruised)
5cm of ginger knob, peeled
5cm of galangal, peeled
15 dried chilies, soaked in boiling water
800 gm topside beef, sliced
½ kilo of coconut milk
80g of kerisik/desiccated coconut (store brought)
1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
2 turmeric leaves, sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
2 pieces of dried tamarind skin/peel
½ cup of water
Palm sugar/brown sugar
First, blend the ingredients to make a spice paste. Heat oil in a large heavy based pot over medium heat. Stir in the spice paste, bruised lemongrass and sugar. Cook until the oil separates. Then add the beef and water, simmer until dry. Once dried, stir in coconut milk, desiccated coconut, tamarind skin and salt. Put on the lid and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Stir occasionally to avoid burning the sauce. The curry should be in a thick consistency coating the beef, however in my case I prefer it to be less dry, so feel free to adjust accordingly. Finally, add the kaffir lime leaves and turmeric leaves, cook for 3 minutes and remove from heat. Serve with rice, chapatti or bread.