Traditional Beef Rendang
2 and a half to 3 hours
4 - 5 people
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
5 centimetres squared of fresh ginger
½ teaspoon powdered fenugreek
5 dried red Thai chillies
100 millilitres of water
2 dessert spoons coconut oil
900 g slightly fatty beef, e.g. shanks or neck
2 stalks lemongrass
4 kaffir lime leaves
5 centimetres squared of galangal
1.5 cans (or 600 millilitres) coconut milk
2 dessert spoons palm sugar
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
Begin by toasting the coriander seeds until they start smoking or popping, then transfer to a grinder and grind into a powder. Add this to a mug and measure in the salt, turmeric and fenugreek then set aside. Now peel a roughly chop the ginger and galangal and add this to a mixer. Add the mug contents, 5 Thai chillies and 100 millilitres of water then mix until you have a smooth paste with little or no bits in. Now prepare the kafir lime leaves by chopping out the central stalk, then using a sharp thick knife to finely chop the leaves then set aside.
Continue by chopping the beef into large chunks. Leave the fat on the beef as the process of cooking will remove this from the meat. In a large non-stick, thick-bottomed saucepan heat the coconut oil and fry the beef in batches to seal the meat on all sides then remove to a bowl. Once you have all the meat sealed, you should still have some coconut oil in the saucepan. Reduce the heat a little then add the spice mix from the mixer and stir fry until the moisture evaporates from the mix and you are left with a paste. Add the palm sugar and stir fry for another minute or two to incorporate then add the coconut milk, tamarind concentrate, chopped kafir lime leaves and finally the beef. Remove any green from the top of the lemongrass and remove the bottom edge then peel the outer layer off. Lay the stalks on a chopping board then place a wide knife in top and smash down once with your fist, then add this to the saucepan and stir thoroughly. Reduce the heat, add a lid but leave this slightly off on one side so steam can escape and simmer for 2 and a half hours, stirring regularly.
After 2 and a half to 3 hours the sauce should have evaporated thoroughly leaving the beef swimming in fat and the beef itself tender and almost falling apart (see stages of cooking pictures below). Increase the heat to high then, stirring constantly so the beef does not burn, stir fry for another 5 minutes to darken the meat. You are essentially caramelising the outside with the fat in the pan. Serve with the rice and use a wooden spatula to transfer the meat to a slotted spoon so the excess fat drips off.