Beef Rendang is on the menu tonight! This was a feature from Fine Cooking a few months back and seemed like a fun project to tackle. Beef Rendang is a Malaysian dish that is typically served at celebrations. Considering the number of ingredients and the time involved, I understand why! This was, however, absolutely, fabulously delicious. It was amazingly sweet and spicy and tangy all at once. Of the Southeast Asian dishes we’ve prepared I think this is the best. It’s definitely not a weeknight meal but it’s so worth the time and prep work involved.
The recipe is built on several flavor and spice bases. Start by cooking the whole spice blend of cloves, cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick (there should also be some star anise here but, even with multiple trips to the store, we forgot it.)
Next, add the ground spice blend of coriander, cumin, fennel, turmeric and black pepper. If necessary, add a bit of oil to keep the spices from burning.
For the final flavor base, add a puree of chiles, onion, garlic, and ginger. There should be some galangal in this but we couldn’t find any. We used to have some from a wonderful spice packet Neal brought back from Thailand but its all gone. sad face!
This cooks for about 10 minutes and starts to smell fabulous!! The color will darken a good bit as well. Stir in the beef (this was a sirloin tip from Sequatchie Cove Farm)
Add coconut milk, lemongrass, and tamarind concentrate. Again, as well stocked as the Asian grocery here is we couldn’t find any tamarind concentrate. A substitute I found was to use brown sugar and lime juice. Of course, it didn’t have any proportions referenced so I had to wing that! The recipe called for 1/4 cup of tamarind concentrate so I used 1/4 cup of lime juice and about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
Stir this around and add a bit of salt and palm sugar
At this point, allow the dish to cook for about an hour. Beef Rendang is not a traditional curry; it is cooked until the liquid has almost completely evaporated and you are just left with beef with a delicious coating of spice and flavor. We decided to not be terribly authentic at this point and didn’t quite cook it until dry so we could savor some of the sauce. When it has cooked to the point of your liking, stir in some toasted coconut and serve over rice.