My sister Jussies fantastic Malaysian Rendang
As some of my fellow lafoodbloggers are already aware, I am compiling a family cookbook of treasured favourite recipes. I intend to post about it upon completion, which hopefully will be by the end of this month.
In the meantime, I have to share this incredible recipe from my younger sister Justine. In fact, it was my silent craving for its secrets that gave me the impetus to put this cookbook together.
A quick note on rendang curry. This traditional Malaysian curry is similar to Thai curries, but has its own characteristics. As someone who is a wimp when it comes to fiery foods I never go near peppers of ANY kind I find this dish complex and tasty without the unpleasant tongue-burning heat. By the way, if you want to sample it first, Singapores Banana Leaf at the Third/Fairfax Farmers Market does a really authentic, dry one. But I have to boast; this recipe is even better!
Writes Jussie Rendang is made either wet or dry. I bring you a wet version, taught to me by a Chinese-Malay lady, Sania, on Christmas Island when I went over there to have a look at a murder in 1998. [ed Justine is a Forensic evidence investigator with the Australian Federal Police Force]. Sania made it for me using mutton, which I would not recommend as so many better cuts of meat are generally available to us.
This curry has remained a favourite of mine ever since, delighting my guests in Australia, Kosovo, Netherlands, East Timor and Cyprus, to name a few places.
I recommend making this curry with either lamb or beef, because chicken just doesnt withstand the strength of the flavour.
Okay, the biggest challenge to this recipe was locating the authentic ingredients, namely the kaffir lime leaves, fresh lemon grass and rendang curry paste. These sorts of things can be found in practically any Australian (city) supermarket *sigh*
So, a quick SOS to the chowhounds gained some incredibly detailed and useful responses.
rabo encendido recommended the
BANGLUCK MARKET, 5170 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA, 90027 (323) 660-8000.
Located next to Sanamluang in Thai Town. He warned that parking is a bit of a nightmare.
das ubergeek advised me that Bangluck has a branch on Sherman Way just west of Coldwater Canyon, as well (with a Sanamluang Cafe and similar horrendous parking)
12980 Sherman Way North Hollywood, CA 91605.
This is where I found all three ingredients
hailyn cautioned that
You should be aware that many of the Asian supermarkets have an Indonesian/Malaysian section that is completely separate from the general sauces section, where you'd find the Lee Kum Kee hoisin sauce, the tianmianjiang, and the Mae Ploy curry pastes that other people have mentioned. The Indo/Malaysian section will usually have candlenuts, belacan (the stinky shrimp paste), shrimp chips, and various Indonesian and Malaysian spice mixes. I imagine the rendang paste might be found there.
She was right!
sesame oil, about a tablespoon
peanut oil, two or three tablespoons
decent dollop of crushed garlic (lets say, minimum of a golf ball size) [ed which is probably almost a whole head of garlic cloves]
1 lb lamb or beef, cubed [ed fillet is fantastic, but tougher cuts of meats will work well for this dish]
½ a small (6oz) can [i.e. 3oz] of unflavoured/unsalted tomato paste
INDOFOOD Rendang Curry Paste one 2oz sachet or, if you are using a jar, about two tablespoons
14 oz can coconut cream
2 x decent sized fresh lemon grass stems, don't cut off the ends, but bruise (split) the bulbs. And they have to be fresh. You dont need the tops. If they are tiny, use more than two.
Kaffir lime leaves about 12 (minimum 6). Again, these should be fresh, but you can sometimes buy freeze dried ones at the Asian grocer where you got your paste from.
TIP: There is no substitute for the kaffir lime leaves nor lemon grass flavours, and it just isnt a Rendang without them.
Optional / highly recommended ingredients:
Additional fresh red chillies to bump up the spice volume [ed not at all necessary, IMHO]
Button mushrooms, quartered
Red bell peppers, thinly sliced into sticks [ed for ease of removal from my bowl!]
Heat your oils in heavy based pan on high until loose. Add garlic and immediately move it about for about 30 seconds so it doesnt burn. Remove garlic and set aside. Brown the cubed meat (keep it moving about).
Turn heat down to simmer then add the tomato and curry pastes. Mix it really well and, when the temperature is down, add the coconut cream. Mix all that together.
By now there should be a light ripple on the surface of the simmering contents, and it should be relatively more liquid than chunky. It should be a reddish-brown colour.
Add the lemon grass and the kaffir and poke them down so they are under the surface of the liquid. You do not need to split the leaves, as the flavour will emerge naturally.
Let it simmer and after 10 mins or so, have a taste and decide if there is enough after-burn or if you need more chillies. Add more to taste.
Note: if you go a bit overboard, you can cool it down by adding a bit more coconut cream, but not a whole can, unless its a smaller one.
Its best to let it bubble and toil for a minimum of 40 mins. Even with a good cut of meat, you really need to simmer for about two hours. You can partially cover with a lid to cut down on splatter mess, but be sure to lower the heat and keep it at a very slow simmer.
About 10 mins before you serve it, add the bell peppers and mushrooms so that they dont go completely soggy. And the pièce de résistance is if you serve it with warmed authentic roti or naan. Shown served with steamed brown rice.
JUSSIE'S TIP: Don't eat the foliage!
Hope you enjoy this incredible curry!