Traditionally, the Malay rendang is cooked in a wok. The dish starts off with the meat and blended spices covered to the brim with coconut milk and it is then cooked slowly until almost all the coconut milk has dried off when the “kerisek” is then added. Kerisek is basically grated coconut which is toasted until golden brown then ground into an oily paste. It can be made at home or bought ready made. Kerisek give rendang its unique fragrance and flavour.
However, when you are cooking rendang on a stove where the wok won’t sit very well, it can be difficult. So I have made some adjustment to the cooking technique. It reduces the volume of the coconut milk and it involves less stirring so you have more time to tend to other dishes. Not only that, you are guaranteed with tender melt-in-your-mouth juicy meat. Because I was cooking for an English family here, I have reduced the amount of chillies considerably.
I am sorry the photo above is not picture perfect but we were too hungry to wait.
500 gm boneless mutton
1 block of creamed coconut
half a can of coconut milk
2 large shallots (peeled and roughly chopped)
1 large clove garlic (peeled)
1 cubed inch of ginger (roughly chopped)
2 fat stalks of lemon grass (finely chopped)
11/2 cubed inch of galangal (roughly chopped)
3 dried chillies (roughly chopped and soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes)
5 bird-eye chillies
1 tbsp Malaysian curry mix
2 pieces dried tamarind slices
a few kaffir lime leaves roughly torn
1 turmeric leaf roughly torn
1 tbsp of groundnut oil
salt to taste
Heat the oven to Gas mark 5.
Slice the meat into small bite-sized pieces. Next, make the kerisek. Chop the creamed coconut into pieces and spread them into a layer on the baking tray. Place the baking tray under a grill and toast the coconut until golden brown. Meanwhile, blend the shallots, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, galangal and chillies with a few drops of water until smooth.
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Fry the blended spices. Add the curry mix and stir well. Add the meat and stir. Next add the toasted creamed coconut and coconut milk and bring to boil. Season well and taste. Now transfer the whole mixture into an oven safe casserole dish, add the kaffir line leaves and turmeric leaf. Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Verdict? The in-laws really loved it they had seconds. Finger lickin!