Sunday, July 21, 2013

R - Beef Rendang

A photograph of Beef Rendang and Cucumber salad
Beef Rendang with Cucumber Salad

After a longer hiatus than we care to think about, we are finally back with ‘R’. One reason and the other have kept us from keeping to the weekly aspect of the Project, but we had never abandoned it in our thoughts. We’ve still got a list of recipes we are keen to try out, and despite all the interruptions in recent weeks, we will keep going. We’re determined/stubborn/pig-headed like that.

We’ve been eyeing this recipe from Rick Stein’s lovely book of recipes from South East Asia for a while now and the timing of ‘R’ is somewhat serendipitous as we are off to Bali next weekend and rendang is traditionally an Indonesian dish. This version appears in the Malaysian section of the book and is distinguished from its Indonesian equivalent by the addition of kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal.

More info inside.

A photograph of Chillies
Kashmiri Chillies

It is really quite a simple dish to make – we made a rendang curry paste with goldenly toasted coconut, dried kashmiri chillies, cumin, coriander, turmeric, onions, garlic, galangal and fresh red chillies. We started by pounding the ingredients (moving from driest to wettest) in the mortar and pestle (as an aside, there is something strangely comforting about the act of bashing things to power or pulp in a mortar – I am hardly an inately angry person, but it is strangely satisfying) and finished it off in a food processor (we misjudged how much the mortar could hold).

We then fried the beef until it had just turned colour (but was not yet browned), then added the spice paste with coconut milk, lemongrass, lime leaves, cinnamon and salt. Tamarind water was added last and the concoction was left to its own devices for about 2½ hours. By the end of this cooking time, the beef was superbly tender and the sauce lovely and thick.

A photograph of Beef Rendang and Cucumber salad
Beef Rendang

We served this as Rick  suggests with rice and a simple cucumber, shallot, lime and coconut salad which cut through the richness of the curry. This was a perfect dish for a winter evening and really got us in the mood for our trip!

Speaking of which, we will be fleeing Sydney winter for a couple of weekends in balmy Bali, but stay tuned for ‘S’ after that!

Technical Details

A photograph of the lighting setup used for Beef Rendang
Lighting Setup - Rendang

I ran out of batteries and only managed to find 4 lying around the house. As a result, I could only shoot with a single light source. I opted to use it as a fill light and bounced it off the ceiling at 1/4. all the photographs in this post were taken with a single light source.

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