mercredi, mai 03, 2006

Indonesian Beef Curry (Rendang) and Soto Ayam (Spiced Chicken Soup)

Indonesian Beef Rendang

Both are popular dishes in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. And needless to say, quite delicious. Made both last Wednesday for dinner.

I think Hubby's first taste of the Rendang must be in Medan, Sumatra, the first year we went out together. We were in a Nasi Padang stall on the last leg of our backpacking trip in Sumatra (where we trekked in the Orang Utan rehabilitation reserve in Bukit Lawang, travelled downstream in a makeshift rubber-tyre raft, climbed a volcano near Lake Toba, where he dived in Pulau Weh off Acheh...) and I finally managed to convince him to give up his usual Nasi Goreng (only dish they usually managed to cook on the spot for us) and try some Nasi Padang (cooked food served cold) in a reasonably clean-looking restaurant. But his favourite Indonesian restaurant remains the Rice Table in Singapore.

Beef or Lamb Rendang :

1kg meat (beef cheek/joue de boeuf is very tender) cut into big cubes
vegetable oil
shallots or onions, sliced
1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
1 thumb-sized galangal, sliced
3 cloves garlic, bashed
1-2 stalks lemon Grass, bruised (if desired, finely sliced)
2 candlenuts (optional)
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 pinch ground cloves
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 piece cinnamon bark
1 star anis
5 cardamoms, bashed
1 tbsp ground chilli (or fresh chilli)
3 tbsp tamarind juice (or juice of 1 lime)
1 tbsp palm sugar
400ml coconut milk
4 kaffir lime leaves
5 tbsp dessicated grated coconut (to be roasted, optional)
Salt to taste

Marinate the beef with a bit of ground turmeric. Grind the garlic, onions, lemongrass (or use it in a larger piece bashed), ginger, galanga and candlenut into a paste. Add the ground spices and mix well.

Heat some oil in a pot till smoking hot and brown the meat in it. Remove and set aside.

Fry the onions and whole spices in the same oil. Add in the paste and fry till fragrant. If necessary add more oil. Stir in the coconut milk and palm sugar. Add the kaffir lime leaves and the seared beef. Cover the pot and simmer the meat in the spice paste/coconut milk till the liquid is almost gone. It can take up to 4 hours.

Remove the cover and stir the meat as the gravy dries out to prevent burning.

Rendang not yet dry

The Rendang is a dry curry created to allow the meat curry to be kept without refrigeration for a long time. It is best eaten hot with some steamed rice, but is just as good eaten cold (e.g. in Nasi Padang stalls). In fact, it's one of those dishes that taste better eaten later. Eat it over a day or 2 and it would taste better each time you eat it.

Toasted dessicated coconut

Finally, once the curry has dried out with the simmering (remember not to let the meat burn), dry-toast the dessicated grated coconut in a non-stick frying pan. Add to the beef curry with some fresh coriander leaves, a few minutes before serving. Mix well. Meat should be melt-in-the mouth.

Soto Ayam

Soto Ayam :

1 whole Chicken
4 Shallots or 1 large Onion, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, bashed
1 thumb-sized Ginger, sliced
1 large red chilli
1 thumb-sized Galanga, sliced
3 stalks Lemon Grass, bruised
1 Tsp ground Turmeric
A few Cloves
1-2 Star Anises
1 Tsp Peppercorns
1 Tsp ground Coriander
1 Tsp ground Cumin
4 Candlenuts, lightly bashed
2 Kaffir lime leaves
600ml Chicken stock
400ml Coconut milk
1 stalk Celery
Salt and Pepper

Rub the chicken all over with salt.

Pound or grind the shallots, ginger, garlic and chilli into a paste. Heat up some oil in a pot and brown the shallot paste, ground and whole spices, lemongrass and galangal. Add the chicken and enough hot broth to cover the chicken. Cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken and cool it in a basin of cold water for 10 minutes, drain and debone the chicken. Set the meat aside and return the bones to the stock. Add the celery, potatoes, kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk. Simmer for at least another 30 minutes.

Serve the chicken soup with some chicken, salt and pepper to taste, a few cubes of boiled potatoes (or traditionally mashed potato patties), hard-boiled egg, fried shallots, fresh coriander leaves, mung bean vermicelli (optional), squeeze some lemon juice over it. For the initiated, the soup can also be eaten with some chilli padi mixed with sugar and dark soya sauce.

PS : If you want your soup to be less oily you'll have to be more hardworking and cook it the day before so that you can cool it and remove the fat before serving it.

4 commentaires:

last frontier a dit…

Do you have so many ingredients at home ! I just loose my patient if I had to look for so many ingredients in the supermarket just to make one dinner...
I think it would be better to eat at your home than go out for dinner in an expensive restaurant !!! I don't have any more adjectives to describe your kitchen talent !

Beau Lotus a dit…

I do have all the ingredients at home and can make most curries anytime I want to. Most of the spices are dry and therefore keep well in a cool and dry place and as we only need a little each time, they almost last forever. Ingredients like lemon grass, ginger etc can be frozen when you buy them fresh and they keep well this way too. And coconut milk comes in cans nowadays so just have a few handy in your pantry :-).

101mynxes a dit…

Ooh! Your rendang looks droolsome! Um, I wonder what your neighbours must have thought of the curious aroma coming out from your kitchen

Beau Lotus a dit…

Actually I'm not too happy with my rendang because I couldn't get a better cut of the beef here in Stuttgart (would have preferred the cheek and in larger cubes). It affects the outcome, of course, the meat should melt in shreds as you probably know. And of course my rendang was ''wet'' and not ''dry'' coz hubby prefers it that way.

As for my neighbours, they probably think we're weird. We're foreigners, we're younger than anyone else (they are ALL old here) and we eat curries so very often :-). Otherwise they probably won't smell anything coz we live in houses in the street and each house is pretty isolated. I could torture my kids and nobody can come to their rescue.