24 October 2011

Beef Rendang - the slow cooker version

Beef Rendang, Saag Aloo & white rice : double yum factor!
I'd had this recipe, the original of which was put together by the wonderful Atul Kochhar - and who we have to thank for the inspired spicing of the dish - in my "to do" folder for some weeks.  I'd been waiting for a moment when I felt brave enough to tackle it, you see.

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!
So we made the executive decision to leave the curry until the following day (but let it do its slow cooker thing, then refrigerate until tomorrow) and have a Tuna Pasta Bake instead.  Of course, as sod's law would dictate, having made that decision we got a phone call from the seller of the guitar, saying "terribly sorry, but someone's bought it already".  *sigh*  C'est la vie.

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)

Ingredients :

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.

Method :

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.

12.  Serve.



  1. Hi Jenny I was wondering if you would like to put up a link to this nice beef recipe in my Food on Friday Series. This week the ingredient is beef. I also see you have lots of other nice beef recipes - feel free to put up a link to a couple or three!

    1. Hello Carole! Thank you so much for alerting me to your Beefy feature. :) I've linked up a handful of interesting recipes, which I hope your readers might like!

    2. ooh, I love a good rendang. Thanks for the link up.

      PS next week it's apples

    3. Apples, eh? Hmmn, I've got a couple of appley recipes that might fit the bill! :)

  2. Hi Jenny,

    I am slow cooking this as I type... surprisingly easy to put together.. thanks for recipe!

    Cath from Aus!

    1. You are entirely welcome, Cath! Do, please, let me know what you think. :)

  3. Just had it and it was fab! I only had 600 grams of beef, so substituted the remainder with potatoes, worked a treat! Also used light coconut milk!this recipe will be added to the family favourite list!

    1. Mmmn, I love potato in a curry - I'll bet that was gorgeous. I'm so glad you liked it and it worked well for you. :) Happy happy! :)


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