Have you caught the Masterchef fever yet? I have. Every time I watch an episode, I learn something new. According to some newspaper reports, home cook meals have increased by more than 100% following the series. They could even predict what ingredients are more in demand after the show!
Last season’s winner Adam Liaw published his first cookbook “Two Asian Kitchens” not long ago. He separated recipes into “old kitchen” and “new kitchen”- concepts that I embrace immediately. Afterall, I’m always trying to learn how to create recipes that my heritage and family taught me but at the same time, love to re create new stuff in my new kitchen from experiences and life.
I picked his rendang recipe to try first. Most people who cooked rendang before would tell me that it is a tedious and long process to get it right. It’s a very thick beef coconut spicy stew, cooked so long that the meat is tender and has a melt in your mouth texture.
His ingredients are easy to source in my local oriental and vegetable market- a big bonus because I often find it hard to locate items from cookbooks bought overseas. He made it easy for the Aussie Market!!
I love mixing the toasted coconut at the last 20-30 minutes. It provides the texture that only the rendang can claim king. It tasted better after the next day.
Adam Liaw’s Beef Rendang (serves 4-5)
1 tsp oil
600 grams of lean beef chunks. He recommended braising steak as well.
3 stalks of lemongrass
2 kaffir lime leaves shredded
1 tsp sugar
400 ml coconut cream
100 grams grated fresh coconut or 130 grams desiccated coconut if needed.
1 red onion (or 8 eschalots)
6 red hot bird eyes chilies
at least 6 garlic cloves. I added 2 generous tablespoon of minced garlic
3 cm piece of galangal, ginger and tumeric. All peeled and thickly sliced.
2 tsp sea salt flakes
Place all base paste ingredients in a food processor or mortar. Grind to a paste. Heat oil in large saucepan, fry paste for 5 mins or so till fragrant.
Add beef, lemongrass,, eric, kaffir leaves, sugar and toss to coat in mixture. Add coconut cream and around 200 ml water. Simmer for 30 mins. Then uncover and cook for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, toaste coconut till slight brown. Transfer to a mortar and grind it to a paste. This will release the oils. I cheated and just use a pestle to gently press the coconut.
The beef would have been cooking for 1.5 hours. Add the coconut and cook for another 20 minutes or so. Stir often. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Serve with hot rice or coconut rice.