Beef rendang

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Beef rendang
Rendang originates from Indonesia where it's served at wedding celebrations. Recently voted the most delicious food in the world, it's a slow cooked, caramelised beef curry made from traditionally tougher cuts of meat that fall apart as they braise. I use ox cheeks, which have the benefit of being cheap, and prefer the traditional "dry" version, made by reducing the sauce to a thick flavour-packed coating for the spoon-soft meat.
  • 3 banana shallots
  • 1 inch galangal
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 red birdseye chilles, deseeded
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1kg ox cheek, or braising steak, diced
  • 1 lemon grass, bruised with the back of a knife
  • 5 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 125ml beef stock
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
1. Roughly chop the paste ingredients then blend until completely smooth.2. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish, add the paste and whole spices and fry until aromatic, about five minutes.3. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for a further minute.4. Put the dessicated coconut in a dry frying pan and cook over a medium heat until golden brown. Immediately remove to prevent further cooking, then blend slightly to make a finer texture.5. Add all of the remaining ingredients, reserving 1 tbsp of toasted coconut to garnish, to the beef. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.6. Simmer over a medium heat for two hours, stirring regularly at the end to prevent catching. You should end up with a thick, dry curry.7. Check the seasoning and sprinkle over the remaining coconut to serve.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Serves 4