A SPECIAL PREVIEW FROM "AT HOME WITH UMAMI" | 2015 • Ryland, Peters & SmallI love this melt-in-the-mouth classic – it is super easy to make and the result is always high-impact. I have umamified my favourite Rendang recipe which is by Donna Hay, by adding tomato purée/paste and tamarind. Rendang is where flavour meets functionality, since it was originally an Indonesian cooking method used to preserve meat before refrigeration. The pungent paste is packed with antibacterial aromatics such as garlic, tamarind and galangal, which once rubbed in to the meat are slow cooked to form a dark tasty outer coating. Historically, this would help to keep the meat from spoiling in the hot weather.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1.5 kg / 3¼ lbs. beef brisket, halved
sea salt flakes
a batch of rendang curry paste (see below)
7 kaffir lime leaves
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
2 x 440-ml/14-oz. cans coconut milk plus 1 can water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
freshly squeezed juice of 4 limes (approx. 60 ml/4 tablespoons)
For the RENDANG CURRY PASTE
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon white peppercorns
40 g / ½ cup desiccated/dried shredded coconut
2 French shallots, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 fresh long red chilli/chile, roughly chopped
(this makes it fairly hot – deseed one for less heat)
2.5 cm / 1 in. piece of fresh ginger, sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, sliced
4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
1 teaspoon dried turmeric
1 teaspoon galangal paste
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
½ tablespoon tomato purée/paste
1 teaspoon tamarind paste (optional)
TO MAKE THE PASTE
- To make the Rendang curry paste, heat a small frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Add the coriander seeds and peppercorns and toast, shaking the pan frequently, for about 2 minutes until they become fragrant.
- Add the coconut to the pan and toast for another minute until the coconut becomes a lovely golden colour.
- Place in a small food processor and process until ground.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until smooth.
TO PREPARE THE BEEF
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
- Heat the oil over a high heat in a large ovenproof pot with a tightfitting lid. Sprinkle the beef with a little salt on both sides. Brown the beef well on both sides, about 5 minutes each side. Set aside.
- Turn the heat down slightly to medium-high. Add the curry paste to the pot and cook, stirring constantly, for 1–2 minutes to release the aromatics.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Place the beef in the liquid, cover the pot, and place in the preheated oven.
- Cook for 2 hours, then turn the meat and continue cooking, uncovered, for another 1 hour. Turn the meat a couple of times during cooking to ensure that it is constantly basted with sauce. The sauce should be reduced and the beef lovely and tender, almost spoonable.