|Beef Rendang, Saag Aloo & white rice : double yum factor!|
Having done so, I really don't know what I was worried about - as it was the easiest recipe to follow (even with my deviation into cooking with the slow cooker and taking two days over it). The "two day" thing was purely by accident. However, I really think that I might do that again with a curry, because they seem so much nicer the day after. The spices all seem to mellow out beautifully the longer you leave it.
So what were my concerns? Well, firstly, the recipe demanded fresh lemongrass which (*blush*) I hadn't ever cooked with before. Add that to the fact that lemongrass isn't my favourite flavour - nor is it hubby's - and you can probably understand that concern.
Secondly, the recipe demanded Kaffir Lime Leaves - another ingredient that would be a first for me. I was fairly confident that we'd enjoy the inclusion of these, however.
Thirdly, as the recipe was for a Beef Rendang I had the problem of how to cook the beef well enough to ensure that it didn't retain any "bounciness" (hubby hates chewy meat), whilst not racking up the electricity bill by using the cooker for hours on end (which sometimes is unavoidable, but can be offset by the meals around it being easy on the electricity consumption), and working out how to use the slow cooker (the best way to ensure non-bounciness and economy) to advantage, without spoiling the recipe.
Well, I'm very pleased - nay, relieved - to say that I achieved it. Even with the deviation from the plan which was caused by hubby spotting a Flying V Guitar for sale in the local small ads, (which son & heir would have given his eye teeth for) then ringing up for it and arranging to go and view, which meant we would have to have had dinner half an hour early - which as you know, is impossible when the slow cooker is involved!
|Click to open the picture up - it's worth it!|
Hence the two days' preparation.
The following day, while I was cooking the Saag Aloo (see next blog posting!) to accompany the Rendang, I separated the meat from the sauce and reduced the sauce by simmering it until it achieved the desired consistency. I then added the meat - which served to dilute the sauce a tad as the juices combined - and continued to reduce as the meat warmed through. I was a bit worried that the meat would begin to fall apart as the sauce reduced, which is why I separated the two to begin with.
That plan of action worked perfectly and we were left with a beautifully soft, mysteriously spiced, deep and rounded curry with wonderful flavours. The lemongrass just disappeared into the general melange (I suspect that the blitzing it received in preparation of the original paste helped with that) and even the blisteringly hot bird's eye chilli that I used along with a red chilli, was tempered and controlled by the sugar and sweetness of the coconut milk.
The recipe I detail below is the recipe that I prepared - using the slow cooker. If, however, you don't have one or alternatively don't want to use yours, then the original recipe can be found on the UKTV Food website here. I also used a piece of galangal (who thinks of these names?) in my version of the recipe, purely because it came with the shallots and lemongrass. I tasted it beforehand and it seemed to have a similar effect to ginger, so I halved the amount of ginger and included the galangal. Certainly didn't do the recipe any harm! If you don't have galangal, just double the amount of ginger you use.
BEEF RENDANG (feeds 3-4)
3-4 large finely diced shallots
1 stem of lemongrass, chopped
3 cloves garlic, cut into halves
a thumb-sized piece of Galangal, peeled and chopped roughly (optional)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp red chilli paste - or 2 red chillis, chopped finely (I used a red chilli and a green bird's eye chilli)
1½ tsp muscovado sugar
2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely shredded (I used ready-prepared ginger - 1 tsp)
1½ tsp turmeric
800g beef brisket, trimmed of all fat and cubed
3 Kaffir lime leaves
400ml tin of coconut milk.
1. Put the shallots, lemongrass, garlic and galangal into a small food processor, add a splash of water and blitz until a paste.
2. Heat the vegetable oil on a frying pan and fry the shallot mixture for about 5 minutes or until you can catch a fragrant toasted garlic and lemony aroma.
3. Blitz the chillis in the same way and add them to the pan, along with the sugar. Continue frying for another 5 minutes or until the mixture darkens and the oil separates from the paste.
4. Add the beef and cook until lightly browned, taking care not to let the spice mix catch on the bottom of the pan.
5. Add the ginger, turmeric, lime leaves (crushed lightly) and enough water to half-cover the meat. Cook, uncovered, until the masala clings to the meat.
6. Decant into the slow cooker and turn on to High.
7. Add the coconut milk and stir to combine. You may need to add a little more water at this stage as the sauce shouldn't be covering the meat, but be very much in evidence.
8. Leave to cook for a minimum of 3 hours. If cooking for longer, turn the slow cooker down to medium.
9. It is at this stage that you can leave the curry until the following day. Simply refrigerate once it has cooled down.
10. Remove the meat using a slotted spoon and retain. Decant the sauce into a frying pan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
11. Simmer until the sauce has gained the desired consistency - one of thickened double cream. Return the meat to the sauce and continue to simmer so as to heat the meat through and reduce the sauce back to the desired consistency.