Welcome to the first article of Inspiration - A Curry Blog. As the name suggests I will present here, whatever it is that is inspiring me at this point in time be it a recipe, an author, a restaurant or any other area of curry interest.
Today it is Rendang Daging which is Malay/Indonesian for meat rendang. Rendang's vary considerably however my favorite is the one cooked by West Sumatran Padang people, this is a very dry more preserved variety, and in true Padang style very spicey. Padang food is actually very common and sought after throughout South East Asia however very rare throughout the western world. In fact the only restaurant I know of outside South East Asia is in Sydney, Australia. Called Sari Rasa near the corner of Baker and Willis St near the University of New South Wales if your interested, I have been eating there for 12 years now. For some reason the beef rendang is hidden behind the counter not sure if it is reserved for special customers or what but you have to ask for it if your not a regular.
Padang food is easily recognized throughout Indonesia as it is usually presented in a shop window with bowls stacked on top of each other with different choices of vegetable, meat, egg and unknown assortments of edible material to choose from. You select and pay the pieces that take your fancy. If you abide by what your guide book and doctors tell you you will never get to sample this food, it was probably cooked days ago, it's been sitting in a shop window for hours and some of it may not be cooked at all. Your only saving grace is that it is packed full of chilli and well preserved which surely reduces your chance of food poisoning. But that wont stop you once you have tried it. In fact gastro is preferable to missing out on such delicious food.
As I don't live in Indonesia or even Sydney at the moment I have been forced to track down a recipe that resembles this Padang Rendang Daging, here I will present to you what took me years to unearth. I am even cooking it right now so I'll even show you how its done. The recipe used here has been adapted from Sri Owens book (Indonesian Regional Food and Cookery). In my search for new recipes and cook books I look for certain things, if I know a recipe well I will look it up in a cook book, if it is close to what I know I have some confidence the other recipes may be good. With Rendang it was a completely different story, I could never cook it and every recipe was the same, until I chanced across Sri Owens Book, what got me was the 2.3 liters of coconut milk and the suggestion of using buffalo. I bought the book took it home and bingo a padang style rendang I can cook at home. Not to mention all the other padang recipes made available by the local Minangkabau.
Rendang Daging Recipe
2 Kg Beef Brisket, with bone and fat removed (There was a buffalo shortage in Australia at time of writing) cut into medium size chunks.
Grind the following into a paste using a small amount of coconut milk to smooth things up:
- 6-12 Shallots depending on their size
- 2cm Piece of Turmeric
- 2cm Piece of Ginger
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 10 Chillies
- 2cm Piece of Galangal
Gently fry the Paste in a large pot, add the brisket and slightly brown the meat. Add 2 liters of coconut milk a bay leaf, a smashed stalk of lemon grass and a few pinches of salt to the pot and simmer for several hours until the oil separates and the sauce turns brown.
Once simmered down remove the lot from the pot and transfer to a wok to fry away the remaining liquid, leaving behind a stringy beef imbued with coconut milk and thick spice paste.
As a final treat, as I was rounding this article up I found a couple of videos on You Tube which shows Padang food being prepared and eaten Indonesian style. Enjoy!