Ask an Indonesian, any Indonesian you meet, to name one dish that best represent their country, and most of them will say rendang.
Authentic Indonesian rendang (there's only Indonesian rendang. Everything else is just a cheap knock-off that doesn't come even close in flavor or appearance) hails from Minangkabau highland in West Sumatra. It takes a long time to cook it and lots of practice to perfect it, but in the end you will be rewarded with delicious spicy aromatic dish that will make all other curry turn green with envy.
Serve with steamed rice.
- 10 shallots
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 1 inch fresh galangal
- 12 fresh cayenne peppers
- 5 Thai bird chilies, more if you want it hotter
- 1 teaspoon toasted cumin
- 1 teaspoon toasted coriander
- 1 teaspoon toasted white peppercorn
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 4 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 asam kandis (garnicia xanthochymus), substitute with kokum (available from Indian spice shop), or if you're not able to find any, use 2 tablespoon of tamarind pulp
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 lemongrass, white part only, bruised
- 2 turmeric leaves (might omit if not available, but will change the flavor significantly. Strongly recommended)
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar
- 2 pounds beef chuck or shank, cubed (about 2 x 2)
- 1 can (14 ounces) coconut cream
- 1 can coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- Place shallots, garlics, ginger, galangal, peppers, cumin, coriander, and peppercorn in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat, add the spice paste into the hot oil and cook until fragrant, stir constantly. Add coconut cream and coconut milk into the saucepan, mix thoroughly.
- Add beef chunks, lemongrass, lime leaves, star anise, cinnamon, asam kandis, turmeric leaves, palm sugar and salt into the mixture. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan partially so the steam can escape. Cook for 3-4 hours, stir occasionally, until the meat is very tender.
- Remove the lid and turn up the heat. Stir and continue cooking until the moisture is almost gone, the sauce dries up and turns oily, and the meat is caramelized.
- Serve with hot steamed rice. Rendang keeps very well, in fact it will taste better the next day. Just reheat before serving.