Rendang Daging is beef stewed in coconut milk with spices until all of the coconut milk has been reduced and the beef is tender. The stew becomes more and more dry, and turns from a light color to a dark color because of the caramelization that will occur. Rendang is traditionally served at festive occasions. The cooking method was developed to preserve meat in a tropical climate before refrigerators were available. Now rendang is still prepared because it is loaded with flavor. Rendang is so popular that it is regarded the national dish of Indonesia.
Like with many traditional recipes, there is no single recipe and every family has its own recipe. Don’t worry if you can’t find an ingredient, just omit it. Indonesian food is quite popular in the Netherlands for historic reasons, and Rendang is one of the better known dishes. Rendang is quite easy to make, the only thing to worry about is that you need to stir often enough towards the end as the sauce thickens. Rendang is the only stew recipe I know for which the browning occurs at the end instead of at the beginning. The spice mixture is traditionally made with mortar and pestle, but a blender works fine and is a lot easier. This was the first time I made it, and I liked the result very much. I will definitely make this again.
350 grams (.8 lb) stewing beef, according to my butcher flank steak is the best cut
1 Tbsp sambal oelek (Indonesian chili paste)
1 can (400 ml, 1 2/3 cup) coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 fresh red chile pepper (or more if you like it very spicy)
1 lemon grass, chopped (sereh)
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
1 Tbsp chopped galangal
1 bay leaf (an Idonesian bay leaf is better if you can find it, salaam)
1 kaffir lime leaf (may be dried, djeroek poeroet)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp trassi (Indonesian fermented shrimp powder)
1/4 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar, gula djawa)
salt to taste
The sauce should have browned nicely. The sauce may separate a bit, that is quite normal. If you use very low heat it should be possible to avoid it, but I had no such luck on my first try. It still came out great.
This pairs well with a full-bodied ripe red from a very sunny climate, such as a Salice Salentino Riserva Selvarossa, Cantina due Palme.