I've been eating a lot more Indonesian food in the past year than I have ever before. Largely because of Gourmet Pigs, of course. So it was inevitable that I eventually tried my hand at cooking something. I asked her to ask her mom for a beef rendang recipe, a sort of dry curry if you're unfamiliar with Indonesian food.
GP said I needed more chili peppers to my recipe, which makes it perfect for this month's Weekend Wokking CHILI PEPPER edition, as chosen by last month's hostess, Marija of Palachinka. I had most of the ingredients already at home, except for candlenuts and galangal, which I substituted with walnuts and ginger. I also added ground nutmeg and cinnamon, which were not part of her mom's recipe.
WC: What do candlenuts do for recipes? I've seen them in other Indonesian recipes but haven't tried.
GP: Hm. Oil? Or texture.
WC: I saw some at the San Gabriel Superstore. Haven't bought any yet because no recipe.
GP: The candlenut also gives it that yellowy color.
WC: I'm thinking the oil and aroma sounds right.
No turmeric huh?
GP: Not according to this recipe.
WC: My aunt makes something similar with lemongrass and coconut juice, not milk.
And only 1 stalk of lemongrass? Think, I'll have to adapt and add another. Bwhaha.
GP: Hahaha. Sure.
WC: I have everything except candlenuts and galangal. I don't much like galangal though. Maybe just stick to ginger.
GP: I've heard the next best thing to candlenut is cashew.
But I don't know... That just won't be rendang...
WC: 2 tblsp candlenuts. Think I can sub with walnuts?
Aroma? Oil? Smoothness?
GP: But... but...
Well, I completely bastardized GP's mom's rendang recipe and maybe my flavor is off, but I still liked it.
Indonesian Beef Rendang
Adapted (completely bastardized) from Gourmet Pigs' mama's recipe, which I'm sure if I made in the proper quantities with all the proper ingredients would have tasted way better. :P
For 2 lbs of beef, you'll need:
2 lbs beef, cut into 2-inch chunks
6 shallots or 1 small red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2-inch knob ginger, sliced
1 tablet palm sugar or 1 tblsp brown sugar
2 tblsp candlenuts or cashews or raw macadamias or walnuts
1 tblsp sambal oelek or Tuong Ot Toi (Vietnamese Garlic Chili Sauce) or 2 fresh chili peppers
2 stalks lemongrass, 1 minced and 1 bruised for the pot
2 tsp salt
1 15-oz can coconut milk
6 Kaffir Lime Leaves, 4 for the pot, and 2 sliced thinly
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Cut 2 lbs beef into 2-inch chunks. Add to pot.
Grind 6 shallots or 1 small red onion, 4 garlic cloves, 1 stalk lemongrass, and 2 tblsp candlenuts or cashews or raw macadamias or walnuts. Add to pot.
Slice 2-inch knob ginger. Add to pot.
Bruise 1 stalk lemongrass. I just break the stalk every few inches to release the aroma. Add to pot.
Finely slice two kaffir lime leaves. Add the sliced leaves and four whole leaves to pot.
Add 1 tablet palm sugar or 1 tblsp brown sugar, 1 tblsp sambal oelek or Tuong Ot Toi (Vietnamese Garlic Chili Sauce) or 2 fresh chili peppers, 2 tsp salt, a 15-oz can of coconut milk, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
The ingredients look so pretty!
Add everything to the pot and fill a 5- to 7-quart stock pot about half full with water. The extra room is needed as the oils in the rendang might splash as it starts cooking down. Simmer on medium-low with the lid off. This is an all-day affair.
After about four hours, the rendang will look like this.
Five hours later (OK, I might have turned it off and gone out and come back.), most of the liquid will be gone and the beef will be coated with a thick coconut sauce.
I went another hour until all the liquid was gone. The beef will then start dry-frying in the pot. That's when it's ready.
Serve with rice.
Gourmet Pigs said it was good (Ha! Just trying to be polite.), but a bit too sweet (I decreased the amount of sugar I used when cooking for the recipe.) and just a bit off.
Darn those candlenuts!
I liked it just fine. Tender beef redolent with aromas of lemongrass and coconut.
I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks to celebrate the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.
This month's secret ingredient is the CHILI PEPPER. The host for January is me! Check the chili pepper round-up for six recipes.
I use chili peppers in pretty much everything, but here are my straight-up chili sauce recipes:
Tuong Ot Toi (Vietnamese Garlic Chili Sauce)
Tuong Ot Xa (Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Sauce)
1 year ago today, Chai Black Tea.
2 years ago today, French Bread Pizza.
3 years ago today, a cold frost decimated most of my garden, except for my iceberg roses and three strawberries.