this month's Recipes to Rival dish is Beef Rendang. it's a dish that encompasses spices from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. i was concerned that i wouldn't be able to find the spices required to make this dish but there are alternative ingredients i could use. Rayrena of Happy Cows and Robyn of Culinary Adventures hosted. Thanks for such a great choice!
(fyi, my camera was stolen this past weekend and until i receive my "new" camera, i'm using jab's. i'm still getting used to it and so my pix in the next few posts are slightly off. sorry about that!)
Excerpted from Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore by James Oseland (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2006) Copyright 2006 by James Oseland.
For the Flavoring Paste:
* 1 whole nutmeg, cracked open with a nutcracker or a heavy, blunt object such as the bottom of a glass measuring cup
* 5 whole cloves
* 6 shallots (about 5 ounces), coarsely chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
* 5 to 20 fresh red Holland chiles or other fresh long, red chiles such as Fresno or cayenne, stemmed and coarsely chopped
* 1 piece fresh or thawed, frozen turmeric, 2 inches long, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 teaspoons), or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
* 1 piece fresh ginger, 2 inches long, peeled and thinly sliced against the grain (about 2 tablespoons)
* 1 piece fresh or thawed, frozen galangal, 2 inches long, peeled and thinly sliced against the grain (about 2 tablespoons; optional)
* 5 candlenuts or unsalted macadamia nuts
For the remainder of the dish:
* 2 pounds well-marbled boneless beef chuck or bottom round, cut into 2- to 2 1/2-inch cubes
* 2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
* 3 thick stalks fresh lemongrass, each tied into a knot
* 1 piece cinnamon stick, 4 inches long
* 7 whole fresh or thawed, frozen kaffir lime leaves
* 5 whole daun salam leaves (optional)
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 tablespoon very finely shredded fresh or thawed, frozen kaffir lime leaves (optional)
1. To make the flavoring paste, place the nutmeg and cloves in a small food processor and pulse until ground to a dusty powder, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the shallots, garlic, chiles, turmeric, ginger, galangal (if using), and candlenuts to the ground spices. Pulse until you have a chunky-smooth paste the consistency of cooked oatmeal.
3. In a 12-inch skillet (nonstick works best), mix the beef and the flavoring paste until well combined. Add the coconut milk, lemongrass, cinnamon, whole lime leaves, daun salam leaves (if using), and salt. Stir well to combine and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered at a slow, steady bubble, stirring every 10 to 20 minutes with a spatula to prevent the meat and coconut milk from sticking and scorching. You'll probably need to adjust the heat periodically to maintain an even simmer.
4. The meat, coconut milk, and flavoring paste will now go on a fascinating journey. At first, the broth will be thin and gorgeously bright orange. As it cooks, the coconut milk will reduce, its fats (as well as the fat the meat renders) separating from the solids. It will become progressively thicker and darker, eventually turning brown. Continue to simmer gently until the liquid has reduced by about 95 percent, stirring every 15 minutes or so to prevent sticking. Only the meat, oils, and a bit of very thick sauce will remain in the pot. This will take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, depending on the skillet that you use, how hot the fire is, and the richness of the coconut milk. Test the meat; it should be tender enough to poke easily with a fork. Taste some of the liquid for salt, and add a pinch more if needed.
5. When all the liquid has evaporated, reduce the heat to low (the meat and the remaining sauce are prone to burning) and allow the beef to brown slowly in the rendered fat. (The fat may be foamy at this point, but it will settle down when the cooking stops.) Stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking and scorching, being careful not to break the beef apart. Continue sautéing the beef until it's the color of roasted coffee beans, 5 to 10 minutes longer. The surface of the beef should be barely moist and have an appetizing oily sheen. (If there is too much oil in the pan for your liking, skim some of it off with a spoon and set aside for later use; it's wonderful for sautéing potatoes.)
6. Remove and discard the cinnamon, lemongrass, lime leaves, and daun salam leaves (if used), and then transfer the beef to a serving dish. (Alternatively, serve this dish with all the aromatics, for a more rustic presentation.) Garnish with the shredded lime leaves, if using. Allow the beef to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. Slightly warm room temperature will best show off its intensely aromatic flavors. This dish will taste even better the next day.
somehow or another i lost the lemongrass, between the grocery store and home. my roommate put everything away and didn't recall seeing lemongrass. i had dry so that's what i used. i also totally forgot the tumeric. i started cooking this dish around noon and didn't eat dinner til closer to 7. i turned off the stove around 4, i was tired of being in the kitchen stirring and just basically watching it turn colors. i was hoping to have some gravy or juice to pour over my rice but no such luck.
despite all that, i thought it tasted great. my roommate and i loved it. i made a container for jab's lunch and i also had it for lunch. i'd prefer it if it were wetter. however, i really liked this dish and i would make it again, but with chicken.
Thanks again Rayrena and Robyn!
Today's soundtrack: Anggun, Sang Penari
i have no idea what this song is about, i just know it translates to the dancer.