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Pork Rendang

Pork Rendang 1


A while ago, my blogging friend Stefan over at Stefan’s Gourmet Blog featured a very complex and interesting recipe for a Beef Rendang that is well worth a look. For those unfamiliar with the basic dish, it is essentially a dry curry made chiefly with beef (and occasionally with chicken), in which the meat is cooked with a spice paste and coconut milk very slowly until almost all the liquid is absorbed and the oil from the milk begins to separate out. It is originally an Indonesian dish but it is popular throughout South-east Asia, particularly in Malaysia and, now, in Thailand.


Today, my version will use a Commercial Tom Yum Soup Paste I featured some time ago for my spice component. It is a Thai product, heavily redolent with Lemon Grass and Galanga, and I will also use a little Sambal Oelek for some added heat. Rather than beef, I am going to use pork, which is definitely non-traditional, given that Indonesia has a Muslim majority. I am going to be slow-cooking using coconut milk, however, so the dish will be a Rendang of sorts, but, given the spices and use of pork, something of a Thai variety… 


The Ingredients


  • 1 ½ lbs. Pork, cut into medium sized cubes;
  • 1 cup Onion, finely chopped;
  • ¼ cup Cooking Oil;
  • 3 tbsp. Tom Yum Paste (or Thai curry paste of your choice);
  • 3 tbsp. Sambal Oelek;
  • 1tbsp. Sugar;
  • 1 ½ cups Thick Coconut Milk.


The Method


Pork Rendang 2


Heat the oil in a suitable pot over moderate high heat and the sauté the onion until soft. Add the spice pastes and sugar and stir for a moment or two longer until they give off their aroma.


Pork Rendang 3


Add the meat and stir until all the pieces are lightly browned and no pink remains.


Pork Rendang 4


Add the coconut milk and turn down the heat so as to maintain a moderately vigorous simmer.


Pork Rendang 5


You need to cook the Rendang down for about 45 minutes or so until the liquid has reduced by at least half and some of the oil has begun to separate out. At this point, turn down the heat to a very low simmer and continue to reduce.


Pork Rendang 6


After a further 45 minutes to 1 hour, the meat will be fork tender. The sauce should have reduced to little more than a thick coating and it will also have darkened due to carmelization. One of the features of the oily Rendang is that it keeps well in tropical climes and improves with a little bit of aging. Indeed, as with many curries or stewed dishes, just letting it cool in the fridge overnight and then reheating for service will make it that much better.  For a meal you can serve it (as is traditional) with rice, and perhaps with some small side dishes (peanuts, or chopped peppers and onions, for example), but it strikes me that it might be nice served as a filling for a wrap such as scallion pancakes. Enjoy…



10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Eha #

    I have to admit to just having had to look twice when I saw ‘rendang’ and ‘pork’ on the same line 🙂 ! Have cooked the dish over 30 years, usually making my own spice mix and using more Malaysian than Indonesian recipes!! Methinks Stefan and I even discussed its Indonesian origins as Down Under it is usually regarded as a hugely popular Malaysian dish. You present the simplest version of the delightful curry I have ever seen so daresay will try it your way, pork and all 🙂 !!!! Time is oft of essence!!!!!

    March 14, 2014
    • The focus here was on the specific technique rather than a particular spice blend. I have usually done this with beef and it is certainly fun to make your own flavor preparations 🙂

      March 14, 2014
  2. This looks divine! I think of rendang as a Malay dish. While I love Malysian food, I also adore pork.

    March 14, 2014
    • It’s a bit non-standard but works nicely 🙂

      March 14, 2014
  3. I love meat Rendang. As a compromise for my low carbohydrate approach to eating I’ve been buying a very nice takeaway Beef Rendang sans rice and serving it on crispy crunchy chopped wombok with spring onions, fried shallots and cherry tomatoes. I’ve never thought of doing it with pork. Sounds delicious.

    March 14, 2014
    • I had to Google ‘Wombok’ … that sounds good though 🙂

      March 14, 2014
  4. Thanks for the shout out. Your pork rendang looks great, although it does indeed sound a bit like a Jewish ham sandwich to me 😉

    March 14, 2014
    • LOL

      March 14, 2014
      • Eha #

        Iam terribly sorry to interrupt, but am having the best ever Saturday morning laugh as I somehow did not know how to say exactly the same thing!!

        March 14, 2014

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