Beef Rendang, with a Twist
I'm gonna come out with it: beef rendang is my favourite curry, hands down. I've been relatively traditional up until now. It's got a matcha kumara, orange blossom and lime threaded coconut, matcha oil. I've tried with this recipe, to bring something a little different; lime juice to ultimately add bit of sweetness over using sugar, with the cinnamon to help draw out that sweetness. So let's get going with this slightly different take on rendang.
1kg Beef Brisket, cut into chunks (about an inch square)
2 Cups Threaded Coconut
5 Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves
2 Sticks of Lemongrass
1 Tablespoon of Smokey Paprika
2 Thumbs Fresh Turmeric, grated
2 Tablespoons of Coriander Powder
3 Teaspoons Grated Ginger
A knob of galangal, thinly sliced
2 Scotch Bonnets (or other spicy chilli), Roughly Chopped
3 Brown Onions, roughly chopped
1 Bulb of Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons of Tamarind Paste
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
1 Cinnamon Stick
3 Cardamom Pods, crushed
1 Litre of Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons of Butter
For the Kumara
3 Golden Kumara, peeled and cut into rings
2 Teaspoons of Matcha Powder
For the Orange Blossom Coconut Thread
1/2 Cup of Coconut Thread
1 Teaspoon of Orange Blossom Water
Two tablespoons of Lime Juice
Teaspoon of Coconut Butter
For the Matcha Oil
1 Teaspoon of Matcha Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
Two Tablespoons of Grapeseed Oil
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
So in a large stock pot, melt the butter over a medium-low heat. Add the lime leaves, paprika, turmeric, ginger, galangal, chilli, garlic, onions, cardamom, cinnamon stick, coriander powder. Cook on a low heat until the onions are translucent, then add the lemongrass and lime juice. Reduce and then lower the heat.
In a separate frying pan, brown the beef in a bit of oil, then transfer to the pot with the spices. Mix it in well, cover it with warm water, then pour in the coconut milk, threaded coconut and tamarind paste. Gently cook on a medium heat for five hours. Make sure you stir it regularly - you don't have to baby it, but you certainly don't want it to stick!
While that is going, prep the kumara. Simply toss the kumara in the matcha powder and a couple of lugs of grapeseed oil. Transfer to a baking tray, salt well, and bang into the oven for the last hour of the rendang cook at 175 C.
For the orange blossom coconut thread (at any point during the rendang cook) in a small pot, Gently cook the coconut thread in the coconut butter. Add the lime juice and orange blossom water and reduce until it's dry, slightly sticky. Let it caramelize a little bit, then take off the heat. Set it aside for serving.
For the matcha oil, put all the ingredients in a jar. Shake really well.
When the rendang is super reduced, it's probably not reduced enough! It needs to be thick, and really dark. The sauce with be nearly a paste. So be bold with the reducing and caramelizing of the sauce. Make sure you keep a very close eye on it towards the end, to make sure it doesn't burn. If you need to, reduce the heat. Also, mind your hands, it's prone to bubbling, right onto your skin.
Taste, salt really well depending on how you like it. Stir through the leaf ends of some fresh coriander to freshen it up!
I also pepper generously, which leads to the explanation of the paprika: I like my spice to be both even and layered. Pepper hits a different part of the tongue to chilli, and I think that a bit of smoked paprika gives another sweeter, peppery layer. It's certainly not traditional, but it works well.
By that stage the kumara should be soft and sweet.
Serve with a few pieces of kumara as a sweet counterpart. Sit it all on top of the earthy, tangy matcha oil. On top, garnish with the orange blossom and lime coconut to add a high note of fragrance. If you need a bit more carb, Jasmine rice is a delicious accompaniment.