Monday, 28 March 2011

Cook The Books : Rasa Malaysia - Beef Rendang

I brought this book many years ago in a small bookstore somewhere in Singapore. I know I don’t cook out of it as much as I should, but it’s one of the best cookbooks I own.
The wonderful Betty Saw seems to be the Delia Smith of the Malay/Singapore world, and has written about as many books as Delia herself. Whether she has a lucrative supermarket deal is anyones guess.
The chapters of the book are the States of Malaysia and Borneo, which makes cooking really interesting. But you therefore have so many choices for the same dish. I’m amazed there are so many different versions of the mighty laksa.
My favourite Malaysian dish is Rendang Daging or Beef Rendang. By far the best recipe I have found not only from the book, but on the interweb as well, is the recipe from Pahang. This state has the delights of the Cameron Highlands, plus the bizarre city of Kuanton and my favourite town of Cherating. All these places are within its borders.
If you are only going to cook one recipe from Malaysia, then it should be this one.

600g Beef, cut into 2 ½ cm cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black peppercorns
1 ¼ litre of coconut milk
1 piece of dried sour fruit (asam gelugur)
2 Lemon grass stalks, lightly bruised
2 turmeric leaves
Salt to taste

Ground Ingredients
15 Dried chillis – soaked
15 birds eye chillis
2½ cms piece of galangal
2½ cms piece of Turmeric
2½ cms piece of Ginger
15 Thai shallots, peeled
5 garlic cloves

  1. Season the beef with the salt and ground black pepper. Leave for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a pan and add a tad of oil. Add the ground ingredients and fry until it becomes fragrant. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the meat, sour fruit, lemon grass and the turmeric leaves. Simmer for about an hour and a half or until the meat is tender and the gravy thick and oily.
  4. If the meat is tender but the gravy is still a tad too loose, then remove the meat and boil the sauce hard until the gravy is nice and thick.
  5. Remove the lemon grass and turmeric leaves. Season with the salt and serve with rice.

It’s that easy. It’s thick, coconuty, spicy and totally bloody unxious. I’d advise you all to give this a try. You can of course reduce the amount of chillis but the coconut milk will reduce the kick of them. But each to his own. Enjoy.

1 comment:

shaz said...

Mmm, rendang...I love rendang. And you hit the nail on the head, I was just thinking about this today, how all the different states have dishes that are distinctly their own. I can't remember if I've had Rendang Pahang but the one you made looks fantastic! Thanks for taking part in our Muhibbah Malaysian Monday :)