WHAM BAM SWEET RENDANG
Supper tonight, courtesy of a recipe from my good chum and food writer, William Leigh, for Beef Rendang, that staple of Malaysian home cooking with its unique mix of Indian and South East Asian influences.
It takes time to prepare and time to cook and the last few moments, as the sauce begins to split to release the coconut oil in which the meat fries to a perfect brown, are a little on the hairy side. But, hold your nerve and the end result is spectacularly worthwhile, with layers of flavour from the coconut milk, lime leaves, chilli and a last flavouring with fish sauce releasing on the tongue one after the other.
William has been kind enough to let me share his recipe, which I tweaked a little for my own tastes
FOR THE PASTE:
6-10 Thai Chillis depending on how hot you like it
1 inch ginger
1 inch galangal
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp brown sugar
1kg stewing beef ( cut in 2in cubes)
2 tins coconut milk
1 tins worth of water
1 bay leaf
2tbs fish sauce
Juice of a lime
Whizz the paste ingredients with a little water to a smooth paste.
Add to a large pan or wok with the lime leaves, bashed lemongrass stalk, bay leaf and coconut milk.
Add the beef to this and let it bubble slowly for an hour and a half.
Turn the heat up and cook until all the coconut milk has almost gone. This will take a while, maybe 45 mins to 1 hour, and it will look strange while it's doing it. Eventually it will start to colour and the oil will come out of the coconut milk completely.
The beef will fry in this oil and turn quite dark brown and rather flaky - then you're done
Turn off the heat and stir though the fish sauce and lime juice.
I served with chapatti and a salad of red onion, cucumber and tomato dressed with lime juice and zest.