Saturday, November 1, 2008


No direspect about the dish, it's just my husband being the silly guy he is. That would be Randang, Beef Randang specifically. And right away I must tell you it was phenomenol. I wonder if I would have ever picked this recipe. I have to say I probably would not. It has a bunch of ingredients but one I didn't like (Thai basil). As I added each one, I was thinking, I don't know if I am going to like this. I put my faith in our hosts, Rayrena from Happy Cows and Robyn of Culinary Adventures. You know what, they didn't fail me. It was one great tasting dish. No flavor blared out at you they just simply danced together into this one fantastic dish!

Come join us at Recipes to Rival for next months recipe. Just click here to find out how to join. You can view the entire recipe plus more pics of this great dish, click here.
For a vegetarian option, click here.

Beef Rendang (Rendang Daging Sapi)
permission received from James Oseland
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.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

If you decide to use the maximum number of chiles this recipe calls for, you may need to use a standard-sized food processor, rather than a small one. An excellent garnish for this dish is a tablespoon of very finely sliced fresh or thawed, frozen kaffir lime leaves. Be sure to remove the center stem of each leaf before slicing it.

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 (I used two teaspoons of ground nutmeg).
* 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.

Rayrena's notes:
1) For the nutmeg and cloves, I pounded in a small mortar. The threw the remaining paste ingredients in a food blender. I used some of the coconut milk to get it all moving, then poured it all over the meat before cooking.

2) For the lemongrass, remove the first couple outer leaves, trim away the dry tips and pound the stalk with the handle of your knife or a meat mallet, then tie into a knot.

3) The first time I used dried turmeric, didn't use the galangal or lime leaves and it was very good.

4) One time I used 8 cayenne chiles and it was fairly spicy, the next time I used 6 Fresno chiles and there wasn't much heat.

5) Both times I had a hard time getting the meat tender. Both times I ended up adding a can of chicken stock towards the last 1/2 hour and cooking until tender, then cranking up the heat until it evaporated.

6) Definitely use a nonstick pan. And be watchful towards the end, the resulting paste can brown quickly!

Following is the recipe for the accompanying pickle dish:


kat said...

we really liked it too. The smell was so fabulous cooking. Yikes I forgot that its posting day!

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with some of the ingredients which would make it an adventure for me. But it looks very nice! :)

Heather said...

hah! it does sort of sound like orangatan! lovely dinner!

Anonymous said...

Hee hee, you're husband is a hoot! I guess it does sound like an orangatan :) So glad you liked it! I'm looking forward to having it again soon.

The Blonde Duck said...

It looks tasty!

Temperance said...

It doesn't matter what he calls it if he is asking for more.

I hadn't thought about using the left over fat for sauteeing potatos but that is a great Idea!

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

I love the sound of all those spices. And I laughed at your title :D

Madam Chow said...

Lori, this looks fabulous. I did the potato version, which was fabulous.

Ivy said...

There are a few ingredients I am not aware of but the dish sounds delicious.

Grace said...

mmm...yes please! i have no doubt your husband asked for seconds--what a great dish, and what a cool idea for a group!

Debyi said...

Wasn't this dish great! I think the potatoes went perfect with this dish. Great job.

Angry Asian said...

you're right when you say that the spices all danced together, nothing really stood out. i thought so many different spices would cause a war in my mouth but no such thing. it was delicious! i think the dish choice for October was great and so glad you made it even tho you didn't know some of the ingredients.

JMom said...

LOL! orangatan :D your husband is a funny guy. Your rendang looks delicious! I made mine spicy so only my husband and I ate it. It was delicious!

~JMom - Cooked From the Heart

Christine said...

We really loved this recipe. The house smelled delicious and my little one gobbled it up! Great job!