Indonesian Rendang Padang Curry
This rich Indonesian curry has a huge depth of flavor achieved by simmering beef with whole spices, aromatics, and coconut milk. Served over turmeric rice and bright cucumber salad with vinegar dressing for a power chord of flavor. Its flavor deepens as it ages- if it lasts past dinner!
Serves 6-8 (1-½ quarts curry)
6 each shallot, sliced (~2 cups)
10 each garlic cloves
¼ cup red chilies, chopped (sriracha is an acceptable substitute)
2 tablespoon ginger, minced
1-½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1-½ teaspoon ground coriander
1-½ teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
2-½ pounds beef chuck
5 each kaffir lime leaves, remove the ribs (or zest of 2 limes)
4 each lemongrass stalks, bruised
4 each bay leaves
1 each cinnamon stick
4 each green cardamom pods, crushed
2 each whole cloves
2 each star anise
4 cups coconut milk (2-½, 14 oz cans)
4 cups water
2 teaspoon tamarind paste
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Steamed rice with turmeric (for serving)
Cilantro leaves (for serving)
In a food processor or blender, combine shallots, garlic cloves, red chilis, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, black pepper, and salt. Blend into a paste and reserve.
Using your favorite Forge to Table knife, cut beef chuck into 2 inch by 2 inch cubes. Bruise lemongrass and crush cardamom pods.
Heat oil in a soup pot over high heat until smoking. Sear beef until browned on all sides (this is best done in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan). Remove and reserve beef.
Reduce heat to medium-high and add the spice paste, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, crushed cardamom pods, cloves, and star anise. Stir and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
Add beef cubes and stir to coat in the spice mixture. Add coconut milk, water, and tamarind paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and let cook, uncovered, for 2-½ to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
While cooking, prepare cucumber salad. Slice the cucumber in half, slice thinly on a bias, and place in a bowl. Slice shallots thinly and add to bowl with rice wine vinegar, toss well to coat. Reserve until serving.
Prepare steamed rice and fold in a few teaspoons of turmeric, to taste (optional).
After the time is up, the beef should be soft but not falling apart and the liquid should be dark, thick, and reduced by about 75% (some oil separation is normal). Remove cinnamon sticks, lemongrass, bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves.
Serve Rendang Padang over a bed of turmeric spiced rice topped with cucumber salad and fresh cilantro leaves. The crunch and tartness from the cucumber balance the rich spiciness of the beef perfectly! Enjoy.