Beef rendang is a delicious intensely stewed dish from Indonesia. There are as many recipes for beef rendang as there are chefs who make it. It is a complex flavored dish due to the large amount of spices and herbs. If you have the time, prepare the rendang a day (or longer) before serving – it will taste better after being warmed up. It is usually served with rice, but it also fits well with Indian bread. Serve it with pickles or a sharply flavored vegetable dish to balance the richness of the rendang.
I use beef cheeks for rendang, but you can also use a breast or well-marbled cut with a sufficient amount of tendon or connective tissue that benefits from long, slow cooking. Do not use a lean cut, because the end result is stiflingly dry and hard. The meat takes about three hours to simmer until soft, and then about 30 minutes to watch it very closely – stirring constantly at the end – to reduce the sauce to make it very thick. You could make it in a pressure cooker in less time, but you should use less coconut milk and you might need to adjust the amount of spices.
Purists would say that the herbs must be beaten in a mortar to get the best taste. They are probably right, but I am completely happy with the use of my fast bullet blender I bought for making juice (although I have never used it for that purpose) – it does an excellent job of making herbal paste & # 39; s.
Rendang usually requires candlenuts – a nut that is high in fat and hard to find unless you go to a good store that specializes in Southeast Asian products. Use macadamia nuts if you cannot find them.