Monday, 26 July 2010

Beef Rendang

Beef rendang has been on my to-make list for ages. I was tempted and teased by these blog posts, and last Sunday I finally got my arse into gear and was well rewarded for my efforts. Rich, thick, unctuous and intensely beefy, the meat is cooked in various spices and coconut milk, with the liquid finally reducing so that it then fries in all the leftover oils.

It's not for the faint-hearted - literally, the amount of fat in there almost makes my heart stop - but, you know, you could eat salad for a week after or something. Scooped up with a hot flaky roti, pepped up with the sweetness and crunch of an onion salad, it's no wonder this dish is so popular.

I left mine overnight for the flavours to properly intensify; it was addictive in all its spicy, tender glory. I gorged on it so much I felt a bit sick afterwards. Don't eat two portions in one go.

Beef Rendang

Serves 4

1kg beef shin
5 shallots
1 inch of galangal
5 cloves of garlic
2 inches of ginger
10 dried red chillis (or 5, if you're a wimp)
3 green cardamom pods
2 dried bay leaves
2 star anise
3 cloves
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 stalks of lemon grass
6 kaffir lime leaves
1 coconut
1 tin of coconut milk
1 tbsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
5 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp salt

Chop the meat up into chunks. Soak the chillis in hot water. Meanwhile, chop the shallots, the whites of the lemongrass, ginger, galangal and garlic and pound to a paste. Chop the softened chillis finely and add to the paste.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the shallot paste until fragrant, on a low heat. Throw in the cloves, star anise, cardamom pods (you may want a muslin bag for this - I don't mind pulling spices out of mouthfuls), ground coriander and cinnamon and stir well. Add the meat and the coconut milk, and then a tinful of water. Set to simmer.

While this is simmering, open your coconut by smacking it hard with the blunt end of a knife across its equator between the three eyes and the other side. It will take about 5 minutes of headache-inducing bashing. It should split neatly open. Catch the coconut water in a bowl, drink it, chuck it away, whatever. Extract the flesh, grate it and then toast it on a very low heated dry frying pan. This is a right pain in the arse, so if you can find unsweetened dessicated coconut, toast that instead - about 6 tbsp.

Add the sugar, coconut, bay and the lime leaves, sliced thinly. Simmer for an hour and a half, and then turn the heat up to a vigorous simmer for at least half an hour, stirring it frequently. The liquid should have almost evaporated off. When it has done so and the oil has separated, fry the beef in this oil, stirring so that it doesn't stick. It should be thick and very dark brown.

Serve with this onion and pomegranate salad and some fresh, fluffy roti. Eat with your hands. If, like me, you leave it overnight then when you come to reheat it, add a splash or 5 of water to loosen it up a bit, simmering it until it's all gone.

30 comments:

Helen said...

Making me feel hungry and I've only just eaten!

Ollie said...

One of the great dishes of the world. Addition of fresh coconut admirable.

Helen said...

Just looking at a rendang brings to mind the feeling of fullness I experience when I've gorged myself. The method of frying the beef at the end is totally essential in my opinion and I'd never come across it until I saw Will's recipe. It really makes all the difference in texture I think. I am honestly having some kind of physical reaction to the thought of the rendang.

Peter M said...

I do hope that you just don't throw the word unctuous around too easily. ;)

The ingredient combo sounds divine...coconut, be it sweet or savory wins me over.

gastrogeek said...

I love the sound of this, and am really impressed that you used fresh coconut. Will definitely be making this and soon

gastrogeek said...

I love the sound of this, and am really impressed that you used fresh coconut. Will definitely be making this and soon

Jonny said...

I absolutely love beef rendang and reading this post is making me *very* hungry!

belleaukitchen said...

I don't know what else there is to say about this dish that hasn't already been said above except that ,y stomach is hurting from the thought I I wont get to eat this unless a) you come over with left-overs b) get out of bed and make it myself...

Rob Berrisford said...

looks amazing! def on the "to be cooked list"

Lost in the Larder said...

Off to the butcher tomorrow, beef shin now on the list, now just to find somewhere with fresh coconut. Looks so good, I love eating with my hands too, saves on the washing up, a bit.

Lost in the Larder said...

Off to the butcher tomorrow, beef shin now on the list, now just to find somewhere with fresh coconut. Looks so good, I love eating with my hands too, saves on the washing up, a bit.

mathildescuisine said...

On my recipe list for next week to make my mom discover flavours from all around the world

pigpigscorner said...

WOah, looks good. Bookmarked!

Anh said...

bookmarked!! I love rendang!

RoastedSundays said...

Massively bookmarked. Love a good beef curry and that looks fantastic. What would you recommend as a substitute cut if I can't get any skirt? (insert funny here)

katharine said...

I'm just writing to pass on to you a local discovery in Clerkenwell - Chaiwallah - on the corner of Goswell Road and Percival Street (Barbican or Angel tube). Open till 10.30pm, the owner makes traditional chai, but is also a consumate barista and his variously spiced coffees are wonderful. Not liking the amount of milk that makes a latte, I usually have a masala macchiato, with very little sugar. It is total luxury. The owner's mother makes the Indian snacks and lght meals (as yet unsampled). Should you go there and not like your order, I will personally refund you. I have no commercial interest in the place, but would be happy to invite you for a coffee.

I originally posted this on an older post of yours, since that is where my bookmark takes me, so I don't know if you received it or not. (Sweetcorn cakes, if you want to read the compliments.)

@GourmetButcher said...

Great recipe using such an under rated cut! All hail Hollow Legs for showing us how to take the humble beef shin and creating a delicious meal!!!

Pistachio and Rose said...

Dear Lord that made me want to lick my computer screen a tiny bit, but I am going to make it instead and borrow your fabulous recipi to do so if that is ok!! I will put the results on my blog and hopefully it will look as fabulous as yours.

Sunflower said...

Well done! You can get frozen grated coconut in some oriental supermarket if you hate the grating part. Desiccated coconut IMO is not very good for kerisik (toasted coconut). I always put excess grated coconut in freezer. Makes life very easy when I need some.

Lizzie said...

Thanks for all your comments!

Roasted Sundays - if you can't get shin any cut with plenty of fat that needs long, slow cooking is fine - brisket, for example.

Sunflower - that's very helpful to know, thanks!

shayma said...

love the fresh coconut, Lizzie. what i really came to say was- congrats on the honourable mention in the Telegraph- that is really tops! x shayma

Pavel said...

God that looks good!

Sharmila said...

Ooh, looks really good! I love rendang.

I also use frozen grated coconut and always have some in the freezer. Incredibly useful.

I remember when I was little and my mum would bash open fresh coconuts on our front step. Now there's a way to mark out your family as different in a small suburban town.

Tom said...

Ok - I am definitely not the cook side of the relationship but I got addicted to trying to perfect beef rendang a while ago (and started looking very strange with a hammer and a coconut on a balcony) and could never never get the meat tender enough.

I tried simmering. I tried tenderising it with a salt (fish sauce) and acid (lime) marinade first.

Nothing worked. Luckily I can now buy it as I live in "little malaysia". But still. Utter failure.

One thing I never tried was spending proper money on good meat but that seemed counter-intuitive to the original basis of the dish (probably).

Sorry a slightly obsessively rendang long post there.

Hengki Budi Prasetyo said...

Rendang beef needs not palm sugar and cinnamon. Rendang is a typical food of Minang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. But a lot of Minang has been living in Malaysia and open restaurant here, maybe some of them make inovation in Malaysia.

Lizzie said...

Tom - it's all about fat. You need meat with plenty of fat.

Hengki - There are many variations on the recipe, I believe. I think the sugar and cinnamon add a nice sweet spice to it. Feel free to leave it out, or indeed do whatever you like with the recipe.

Hengki B. P. said...

Yes, of course you are right. Example, in Jakarta rendang is rather hot (very chilli taste) but in other city, Yogyakarta (Javanese) likes recipes rather sweet. But if you make a meal with recipe too long deviate, you would get a strange taste. I know, maybe English toungue is like Javanese tounge that is they like rather sweet. Go on.

maya said...

KERISIK

Am making a rendang today and stopped by just to refresh my mind on the ingredients needed and thought i'd share this tip my mom taught me.....

One block of coconut cream - into a non stick frying pan over medium heat stirred frequently to avoid burning makes a perfect kerisik. Take off the heat when slightly darker than golden brown. Delish and the aroma will fill the house...

tary said...

I believe this recipe is not as tasty than original recipe of rendang Minangkabau from West Sumatran Indonesia

tary said...

I believe this recipe is not as tasty than original recipe of rendang Minangkabau from West Sumatran Indonesia