Then we moved to the Far East and my path was crossed with a dish called Beef Rendang which is a spicy sweet aromatic and thicker version of what we might call 'stew'. I first tried it in a restaurant, I believe, and could buy it ready-made in tins (dreadful) but eventually was taught to make it by the housekeeper of a man who lived next door to us in Brunei.
The housekeeper/cook was a transvestite to begin with and I never knew which persona I would meet each day working out in the garden or running errands. At first I thought they were two different people, and I suppose that really is most accurate. But not germane to the story.
1 1/2 pound boneless beef cubes, cheap cuts are fine
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch long)
3 star anise, I use powdered star anise 1/4 teasp. This is not the anise seed!
3 cardamom pods, or 1/4 teasp of the seeds from within
1 lemongrass (cut into 4-inch length and pounded) I used the stuff in the squeeze tube as the lemongrass is harder to find here
1 cup thick coconut milk (canned. Try to get a can from Thailand, not Mexico. It is prepared a little differently)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons tamarind pulp (soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds )(good luck finding this. I substituted 7 prunes and added 1 Tables of Lime juice)
6 kaffir lime leaves (very finely sliced) Sorry, I grow my own here in the South. Again, Good luck. try an Asian Grocery store
6 tablespoons kerisik (toasted coconut) (couldn't find it, omitted it altogether)
1 tablespoon sugar/palm sugar or to taste
Salt to taste
1 inch galangal (Ii have powdered )
3 lemongrass (white part only) (Squeeze tube, (again)
5 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
10-12 dried chilies (soaked in warm water and seeded)
- Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine.
- Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry them until aromatic.
- Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked.
- Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), sugar/palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.
- Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up.
- Add salt to taste. If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste.
- Serve immediately with steamed rice and save some for overnight.
Okay, that fine recipe is from the link on the name above and it is superb. Galangal is a root much like ginger but different and you might find it at the Asian Grocery. I brought alot of these these ground dried spices back from Thailand and will search for them locally the next time I cross the lake.