Greg's rendang daging lembu
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This is a first attempt at rendang. I don't recommend it, and it's here for documentation purposes only. ”Everything has its use, even if it's just as a bad example”.

Rendang is an old dish from the Minangkabau kingdom of Sumatra. Many people consider it a curry, but in fact it's different in many respects.

Daging lembu is Malay or Indonesian for “beef”.

Rendang predates the European discovery of Sumatra, of course, so the original didn't use any chilis, which come from America. Instead, it used black pepper. Many modern recipes also do, like this one taken from ”Makanan Lazim Malaysia” (Vista Productions Ltd., Singapore, 1980). I've been trying to find documentation on the relative use of pepper and chili, so far without any conclusions.


Warning! I'm still working on this recipe, and the first time I cooked it was anything but successful. It's clear that the quantities in the original recipe are all wrong, but it's not so clear what to do. If you do want to try it anyway, use far fewer ingredients, only about 25% of the onions and 60% of the pepper, and please let me know how it works out.
quantity       ingredient       step
500 g       fresh coconut       1, 2, 9
200 g       dessicated coconut       2
250 ml       coconut cream       8
350 ml       water       8
150 ml       coconut cream       9
1 kg       beef       3, 7
3       turmeric leaves       4
1 stick       lemon grass       4
20 g       garlic       5
400 g       onion       5
      cooking oil       5
2 sticks       lemon grass       6
20 g       turmeric powder       6
35 g       ginger       6
50 g       lengkuas (galanggal, laos)       6
50 g       black pepper, ground       6
8 g       salt       8


The preparation differs depending on whether you're using fresh coconut or a combination of coconut cream and dessicated coconut.

  1. If using fresh coconut, extract 150 ml of concentrated santan (coconut milk) from the coconut. Add water and extract another 600 ml of thinner santan.
  2. If necessary, grate the coconut, then dry-fry it slowly until it is dry, brownish in colour and aromatic.
  3. Chop the beef into small slices.
  4. Finely chop the first lot of lemon grass and turmeric leaf.
  5. Chop and fry the onions and garlic slowly in oil until glazed.
  6. While the onions are glazing, chop the ginger, lengkuas, the remaining lemon grass and the turmeric if necessary. When ready, add them and the pepper to the onion mixture and fry until aromatic, about a minute.
  7. Add the meat and fry for a few minutes.
  8. Add the light santan, lemon grass, turmeric leaf and salt. If using coconut cream add half the cream and the water and bring to the boil. Simmer slowly for 2 to 2½ hours, until the meat is tender.
  9. Add the fried coconut and the thick santan or the remaining coconut cream. Bring to the boil and gradually reduce until almost no sauce is left, stirring constantly to avoid burning.

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