Beef Rendang

 Beef Rendang. Prep time: 15 minutes, Cooking time: 1.5 hrs, Serves: 4. Photo: copyright eighteen thousand islands 2015

Beef Rendang. Prep time: 15 minutes, Cooking time: 1.5 hrs, Serves: 4. Photo: copyright eighteen thousand islands 2015

I'm going to kick off this blog with a couple of Indonesian classic dishes. I'll get more adventurous soon but it'll be a good way to introduce you to some of the basics of Indonesian cooking and ingredients. For me, there's no better place to start than Beef Rendang. Rendang is regarded along with satay as a national dish in Indonesia. Like many cuisines, there are multiple variations according to regions. It originally hails from West Sumatra and spread east through the Indonesian archipelago as well as north up the Malay Peninsula. For this reason it is often claimed as a Malaysian dish – a cause of many an argument between citizens of the two countries. 

This is my mum and grandmother's recipe. It is a delicious and simple take on the dish, requiring very little preparation time and relatively little cooking time. 

Although it is traditionally served on festive occasions it has become somewhat of a staple dish at Padang restaurants throughout Indonesia as well as Indonesian or Malaysian restaurants around the world.

Ingredients:

• 500g diced beef
• 1/2 an onion chopped
• 1 tsp chopped ginger
• 1 clove of garlic
• 5 candle nuts (kemiri) or 2 tsp ground almonds
• 2 tsp of sambal oelek (a ground chilli paste available at most supermarkets)
• 1 tsp of tumeric powder
• 1 daun salam or bay leaf
• 2 cloves
• 1 tsp salt
• 160ml of coconut milk
• 100ml water

Method:

Crush the garlic, ginger and candle nuts with a mortar and pestle if you have one, in a food processor if you don’t. Sauté in a heavy based pan directly on a medium flame with the onion, candle nuts, sambal oelek, tumeric, cloves and daun salam for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the beef and stir until brown. Add the coconut milk and the water and bring to boil. Simmer gently with the lid on for 1.5 hours or until the beef is tender, adding more water only if necessary, making sure it doesn’t dry out, and stirring occasionally until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Serve with steamed rice.