This rich Indonesian beef stew is traditionally a dry one, but I like to make it with a slightly wet sauce because it’s just so delicious. There are many recipes for this spicy, coconut flavoured dish because it’s so famous but you can easily make this version in a home kitchen with supermarket ingredients. It’s quite rich so you really do need the cucumber and onion lime relish to lift it, add an extra flavour dimension and some crunchy texture. It’s so easy to make and the end result is a real showstopper – great for a Saturday night supper with friends. It freezes well too and, as with most spiced dishes, tastes even better if it’s made a day ahead and reheated.
You will need…
- Tamarind pulp – about the size of a walnut
- 1.5 kg (3lb) blade or chuck steak cut into large bite-sized chunks
- 1 x 400ml can of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp light soft brown sugar
- A pinch of sea salt
- Spice paste: 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, a 2.5cm stick of cinnamon, 3 cloves, 1 tsp dried chilli flakes, a 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger – peeled, 6 garlic cloves, 1 lemongrass stalk – chopped, 2 large banana shallots – peeled 1 tsp turmeric.
- Relish: 1 cucumber, 1 small red onion, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 150°C.
- Put the tamarind pulp into a small bowl with 90ml of warm water. Soak and work with a spoon to create the tart tamarind syrup. Strain into a bowl and discard the fibrous waste.
- To make the spice paste, put the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and chilli flakes into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Put the ginger, garlic, lemongrass, shallot and turmeric in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of water and whizz to a smooth paste. Combine the spice powder and the wet ingredients together in the bowl of tamarind. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
- In a large ovenproof casserole (I use a cast iron one) add the beef, coconut milk, sugar, salt and the spice paste. Bring to a simmer and cook in the oven for 21/2 hours.
- When the meat is tender, move the dish to the stovetop, uncover and allow the sauce to reduce a little if it’s too wet. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It will sit quite happily until you make the sticky jasmine rice and the cucumber relish.
- Peel the cucumber, remove the seeds and slice thinly. Peel the red onion and slice thinly (I use a mandolin). Mix the onion and cucumber in a bowl, stir in the lime juice and a little salt.
- Serve the rendang in bowls with sticky jasmine rice and a generous topping of the cucumber relish.
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