Cacao Infused Rendang
I was fully expecting to cop a bit of flak for mucking around with rendang. But after cooking a traditional rendang time after time, I thought perhaps I'd alter it. This take on rendang gives another dimension, a foundation for the layers of other flavours. Cacao. It sits beneath the flavours, a reliable, bittersweet layer that plays with the other flavours.
1kg Beef Brisket, cut into chunks (about an inch square)
2 Cups Threaded Coconut
5 Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves
2 Sticks of Lemongrass
3 Teaspoons of freshly ground Cacao Nibs
1 Tablespoon of Smoked Paprika
2 Thumbs Fresh Turmeric, grated
2 Tablespoons of Coriander Powder
3 Teaspoons Grated Ginger
A knob of galangal, thinly sliced
3 Red Thai Chillis (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 Lime, Cut in half
1 Cinnamon Stick
3 Cardamom Pods, crushed
1 Litre of Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons of Butter
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, and cacao. Cook on a low heat until the onions are translucent, then add the lemongrass, lime juice, lime halves. 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!
When the rendang is super reduced, it's probably not reduced enough! It needs to be paste, a dark 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.
Serve with piping hot jasmine rice. Delicious.