Rendang is a dish cooked slowly in a spicy coconut cream (or milk) based sauce until the liquid has almost gone. The list of ingredients is rather long, but the method is very simple. In fact, most of the ingredients are added at once and blended to make the spice paste.
It does require long slow cooking, unsurprisingly perhaps, it works well in a slow cooker but can also be simmered gently in heavy casserole dish with a close-fitting lid.
For 6–8 servings:
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 red onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2–3cm piece fresh ginger
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp (or more to taste) chilli powder
2 Tbsp oil
400ml light coconut milk or cream
1–1.2kg gravy beef, cut into 3cm cubes
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp tamarind paste or 2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
2–3 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
1/2–1 tsp salt
Heat the coconut in a large dry frying pan stirring frequently until it is a uniform golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Combine the spice paste ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until it forms a smooth paste.
Heat the oil in the pan (or a heavy casserole dish if you are going to cook on the stovetop). Add the spice paste and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the coconut milk or cream.
Stove top: Add all the remaining ingredients (including the toasted coconut) except the salt. Cover tightly and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 1/2–2 hours, stirring once or twice, or until the meat is very tender and the sauce thick and dark.
Slow cooker: Coat the inside of the bowl with non-stick spray. Pour the sauce into the slow cooker, then add all the remaining ingredients (including the toasted coconut) except the salt. Stir to combine. Cover, then turn to LOW and cook for 8–10 hours.
Season to taste with the salt, remove the cinnamon stick, then serve over steamed rice. A cucumber or green salad and roti or naan bread make ideal accompaniments.
Photography: Lindsay Keats