This is a Malyasian curry recipe to treasure, and make again and again. Try to source all the ingredients from Asian food stores for the best authentic flavour, and remember that once you’ve found turmeric leaves, they’ll freeze well for next time. Like all great slow-cooked dishes, beef rendang calls for meat with a bit of fat through it – it will become succulent, soft and absolutely delicious.
6 dried long chillies, torn in half (seeded if you want less heat), soaked in hot water until soft
150 g red onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cm piece of galangal, chopped
3 cm piece of young ginger, chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
1 cup (90 g) desiccated coconut
60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
¾ turmeric leaf, rolled and finely chopped (optional)
6 kaffir lime leaves, rolled and sliced
1 kg topside or chuck steak, cut into 3 cm cubes
250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
⅓ cup Malaysian “meat” curry powder
125 ml (½ cup) water
1–2 tbsp thick caramel soy sauce
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the chilli, onion, garlic, galangal, ginger and lemongrass in a blender or food processor and blend to a paste, adding some soaking water from the chillies as needed.
Heat a frying pan over low heat and toast the coconut until golden. Grind in a mortar, blender or food processor and set aside.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and add the paste and turmeric and lime leaves. Fry for 3–4 minutes, until fragrant. Add the beef, then stir in the coconut milk and curry powder. Add the water and toasted coconut (which will thicken the rendang) and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1–1½ hours, until the meat is tender. Add extra water during cooking if the rendang is drying out. To finish, add the soy sauce and season to taste with salt.