Beef rendang originates in Indonesia but is also popular in Malaysia. It’s a rich dish, so best eaten in small amounts and the spicing is aromatic with plenty of heat. Adjust the amount of chilli, depending on your tolerance for chilli. The rendang is easy to put together and cooks slowly requiring little attention until the last half hour.
In a food processor combine the shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric and chilli with ¼ cup water to make a smooth paste.
Toast the coconut in a dry pan until golden and set aside.
In a large pan, heat the oil, fry the paste for a few minutes, add the coconut milk, the beef cheeks, salt, tamarind paste, kaffir lime leaves, star anise, cinnamon, cardamon, lemongrass and palm sugar. Bring up to a simmer, add half the desiccated coconut, cover and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for 2½ -3 hours.
When the meat is tender and most of the sauce has reduced, start watching the pan, as it can easily burn at this stage. Add the remaining coconut, and cook until dry.
Serve nasi-lemak style with coconut rice, hard-boiled eggs, roasted peanuts, cucumber, fried shallots and fresh chilli. Serve with lime or lemon wedges.
3 shallots, peeled
2 garlic cloves
5cm piece ginger, peeled
5cm piece turmeric, peeled
6 birds eye chilli soaked in hot water for 15 minutes (or 3 red chillies depending on your taste)
½ cup desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tin coconut milk
800g beef cheeks, cut into 2cm cubes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
8 kaffir lime leaves
1 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
5 cardamon pods, bruised
2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
1 tablespoon palm sugar