I love rendang of all forms, and always feel sad for my vegetarian husband who has never had the pleasure of sampling this lemongrass and lime delight. Suprisingly for someone who is widely known as a curry fiend, this was my first rendang. My recipe is adapted from Rasa Malaysia’s amazing Rendang Daging, and is incredibly easy. The only real skill you need is patience, as it needs a lot of cooking time to develop its characteristic caramelised – almost chocolatey – flavour.
The only thing to serve rendang with is coconut rice. Once you’ve gone to the trouble to make these two items, it’s really not much of a stretch to add some other traditional accompaniments to create Nasi Lemak.
Nasi Lemak might be in my top 5 all-time favourite dishes and I’ve tried thousands of them. Across Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand they taste a little different, but they always feel like a little ceremony full of flavour firecrackers. I have added the extra steps below the recipe should you feel inspired.
This dish is worth the waiting time lovely readers. I would love to hear about your versions, and any delicious accompaniments you serve up. Memasak gembira!
- Makes: 6 serves
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Cooking time: 1.5 hours
- Wine match: A cold, crisp Sauvignon Blanc
- 8 small eschallots
- 4 long red chillies, de-seeded
- 5 cloves garlic
- 3 stalks of lemongrass (white parts only)
- 2.5cm piece ginger
- 2.5cm piece galangal
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 5 cardamom pods
- 6 cloves
- 4 star anise
- 1 stalk of lemongrass, pounded
- 275gm (1 cup) coconut cream
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp beef flavoured stock, e.g. Massel
- 2 tbsp palm sugar, gula melaka or brown sugar
- 1 cup dessicated coconut, lightly toasted in a frying pan
- 6 to 8 kaffir lime leaves, sliced into paper-thin strips
- 500gm new potatoes, peeled
- 500gm sweet potato, peeled and chopped into pieces the same size as new potatoes
To make the masala liquidize or blend all ingredients, or pound them into a paste with a mortar and pestle.
In a large deep pot heat the oil then add the masala, cardamom, cloves and star anise. Fry on a high heat until fragrant, then add all other ingredients. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer on a low heat for 1.5 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so.
The rendang can be served simply with plain rice, or as part of a vegetarian Nasi Lemak.
Nasi Lemak is coconut rice served with a range of little accompaniments. This is a wholly vegetarian version.
To make 2 serves of coconut rice, pop 1 cup of jasmine rice, 100mL coconut cream, 1 cm ginger, 1 knotted pandan leaf (or 1 vanilla pod) and 2 cups water into a saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Maintain a boil for 10 minutes then remove from heat. Leave in the pot to steam for a further 20 minutes.
Place 1/2 cup of rice in the centre of each plate and arrange the rendang and other accompaniments around it. I like raw cucumber, boiled egg, papadam or rice crackers, a tbsp salty peanuts and another hot and sour dish. Pictured above are a few runner beans stir-fried in 2 cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp vegetarian sambal oelek.