As traditional Indonesian food is finally being given the platform that it so rightly deserves, Chef Oka from Kayumanis Resto Jimbaran dreams of making the nation’s most flavourful dishes even more accessible. He has made a start by conducting regular cooking classes as well as sharing some of his favourite recipes.
One such delight is Rendang, which is a spicy Sumatran slow-cooked beef stew. This dish is so delicious that this year CNN Travel listed it as one of the World’s 50 Best Foods. Rendang takes several hours to cook and it actually tastes even better the next day once the spice paste has fully penetrated the meat to create complex layers of flavour.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
2.5 cm fresh ginger (roughly chopped)
4 large garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
200 gr shallots (roughly chopped)
3 tbs chilli pepper flakes (to taste)
2 tbs vegetable oil
900 gr beef shanks or short ribs (cut into large cubes)
2 lemongrass stalks (white part only, smashed)
4 kaffir lime leaves
2.5 cm galangal (sliced into coins)
1 can coconut milk 1 tbs palm sugar (brown sugar can be substituted)
1. Place the salt, coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic, shallots, and chili flakes in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth spice paste.
2. Add the oil to a heavy bottomed pot and heat over a medium high flame until shimmering. Fry the beef in batches, allowing each surface to brown before turning. Transfer the browned beef to a bowl and repeat with the remaining meat.
3. Add the lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal to the hot oil and fry until fragrant. Transfer to the same bowl of browned beef, leaving the oil in the pot.
4. Turn down the heat to medium low, and then add the spice paste. Fry, stirring constantly until very fragrant and most of the moisture has evaporated (about 10-15 minutes). If the paste starts burning, reduce the heat and add a bit of water.
5. Add the coconut cream to the pot along with the palm sugar. Return the beef and herbs to the pot, stir to combine then turn the heat down to medium low and loosely cover with a lid (you want some steam to escape). Stir the rendang periodically and simmer for 3-4 hours until the meat is very tender.6. Once the meat is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 4 hours), remove the lid and turn up the heat. At this point there should be quite a bit of oil in the pot from the meat so you're essentially frying the sauce and concentrating the flavours. You'll need to stir the mixture constantly to prevent it from burning, but you want to evaporate as much liquid as you can without burning the meat. Keep in mind that oil does not evaporate, so you will still have a bit of oil at the bottom of the pan.
7. The rendang is done when there is almost no sauce left and the meat is dark brown. Ideally, you'll let this sit overnight for the flavours to evenly distribute into the meat. During this time, the meat will turn chocolate coloured and the flavours will deepen. Serve the beef rendang with steamed rice.