Inspired by my travels to Indonesia, this is a spicy, fragrant caramelised beef stew. Originating as a ceremonial dish of the Minangkabau people, rendang is now ubiquitous in the region, served at roadside stalls and padang restaurants with rice, egg and cassava leaf. Allow at least 2 hours for cooking. Serves 6.
- 2 lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped
- 2 medium red onions, quartered
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 25g fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 75g chunk galangal , peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 red chillies, roughly chopped (do not deseed)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1.5kg braising beef, trimmed and cut into chunks
- 400ml can coconut milk
- 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves (or 8 dried)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 tsp tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp salt
- ground black pepper
- Blend the lemongrass, onions, garlic, ginger, galangal and chillies to a fine paste in a food processor.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and fry the paste gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook for two minutes.
- Add the beef to the pan and stir to coat.
- Cook for five minutes until the meat is very lightly browned.
- Pour the coconut milk and 400ml water into the casserole. Add the lime leaves, cinnamon stick, sugar, tamarind paste, soy sauce and salt and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the sauce is very thick (stir occasionally throughout). The coconut milk will reduce to form an unctuous stew. Season to taste.
- Extract the lime leaves and cinnamon stick before serving. Serve with jasmine rice (I add a little coconut milk to mine), steamed greens and sambal oelek.