Beef or Chicken Rendang, Sumatran Style

Linda Watkins

"Rendang is a spicy, time consuming dish to prepare with a huge number of ingredients but it is well worth the effort. It is served with rice or bread & a vegetable dish & is an event in itself. It is a widely popular dish in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore & the surrounding area."
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allow 5 or servings
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Original recipe yields 6 servings

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  1. To make the spice paste...
  2. In a blender, blend nutmeg & cloves until they are a fine powder. It will take 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Add all ingredients down through the macadamia nuts. If your blender won't hold it all, do it in 2 batches & then mix the 2 together. The resulting paste should be smooth. Add water by the tablespoon if necessary, but no more water than necessary.
  4. Now, set the paste aside. In a large (12" or better to allow for lots of evaporation as it simmers)non-stick skillet or wok, put the chopped meat. Add the paste & coat the meat entirely with the paste. Once the meat is totally coated, add all the other ingredients & stir until well mixed then bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat immediately to medium-low. Cook uncovered & stir every 15 minutes. Set a timer! Don't get distracted in another room or on the phone or it will scorch & be ruined. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom each time you stir. Adjust the heat if you need to to maintain an even, slow simmer.
  5. Continue to simmer until it has been reduced by about 90%. It will turn dark brown. At this point you may need to stir every 5 minutes to keep it from sticking & scorching. If you didn't use "light" coconut milk, you may want to skim off some of the fat rendered from the milk.(This skimmed fat is great for cooking green beans & new potatoes as a side dish. Or any other veggies, actually.)
  6. Remove from heat, cover & let stand 30 minutes. You will want to serve it a little less than piping hot. Remove the lemon grass, cinnamon, cardamom & lime leaves & discard. Serve with rice and a side dish of veggies or a salad, or both.
  7. The next day it will be even better than the day it is made.


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