Beef rendang is of Indonesian origin–a much-celebrated recipe from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia–and often served at ceremonial occasions and to honored guests. After spending hours making my beef rendang, I totally understand why. Beef rendang is not your everday meat dish that one can whip up in a jiffy, the time–not to mention patience and dedication–alone is probably a main obstacle for most people. It took me almost 2 hours to concoct a pot of this aromatic and extraordinarily scrumptious beef rendang. For those of you who have never tried beef rendang, I can only describe it as “a rich and tender coconut beef stew which is explosively flavorful."
Another fact about beef rendang is that it only gets better with time, so much so that the Minangkabaus save them for months as the complex taste and flavor develop over time. For everyday home cooks, I will advise you to serve them once the beef rendang is done, but save some leftover as it only gets better overnight.
The list of ingredients can be a little long but the end result is so worth it...
1 - 11/2 lb beef (country style ribs, cut into cubes)
3 tbsp oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 lemongrass ( white part only) bruise slightly
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
2 tsp tamarind pulp soak with little water to get about 3 tbsp of tamarind juice
6 kaffir lime leaf
6 tbsp kerisik *
1 tbsp of palm sugar or brown sugar
1 in galangal
3 cloves garlic
1 in ginger
10 - 12 dried chili
- Blend spice ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- In a big pot or wok, heat the oil and add cardamon, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and spice that was blended. Stir for about 1 minute. Add in the beef and lemongrass. Pour in the coconut milk and water. Mix till everything is coated well with the spice mixture.
- Cover the pot and simmer in low heat for about 1 - 11/2 hour until meat is very tender. Add kaffir lime leaves, tamarind juice and kerisik., stirring it every now and then until the gravy has dried up. Add salt and sugar to season. If not sweet, add more sugar to taste.
- Serve with steamed rice and cucumbers.
* To prepare the kerisik or toasted coconut, just add the grated coconut to a dry wok and stir continuosly until they turn golden brown, then pound / blend it in a dry grinder. It will look like a thick paste.