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…
- 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.
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.
Add the meat and stir until all the pieces are lightly browned and no pink remains.
Add the coconut milk and turn down the heat so as to maintain a moderately vigorous simmer.
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.
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…