Oh January you funny month. When pay day can’t come soon enough, no one can be bothered to leave the house (SO COLD), and an empty diary is a dream – or is that just me?
And now for slight digression (bear with me). I get asked to do lots of interesting things via the weird and wonderful world of Social Media, brands that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a food writer. I mostly end up saying no because, well, authenticity. However last year Voucher Codes got in touch to ask me if I’d be up for filming a budget friendly family recipe for them. Interesting. Whilst they are not a food brand I appreciate their aim to help people save money and be more savvy. I am constantly trying to be less wasteful, for the environment and for our pockets. So I said yes, and gave them one of my favourite batch cook recipes.
At the time I had just cooked this beef rendang for friends that had come to stay. There were 4 adults in total and 3 children, aged 9, 5 and 16 months. I actually made it with chicken thighs, which you can very easily do. And left out nearly all the chilli, as Persephone was due to eat it too (I sneaked in a very little bit). I simply added chilli oil to the adult portions at the end.
So, here you go, if you can face it, theres a video below of yours truly demonstrating how easy it is to make said Rendang. Perfect for all ages (just adjust the chilli), great to make in advance, little involvement and it freezes really well. I hope you like it.
- 4 – 6 dried red chillies
- 2cm piece of ginger
- 2 lemongrass stalks
- 2cm piece galangal (if you can’t find galangal replace with an extra piece of ginger)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 shallots
- 1kg beef shin or stewing beef
- 1 x 400g can of coconut milk
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 50g desiccated coconut (unsweetened ideally but don’t worry if not, just soak it in boiling water for a few minutes first)
- Basmati rice, to serve
- ½ bunch of coriander
Store cupboard ingredients:
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Groundnut or vegetable oil
- 1 star anise
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place a large casserole pan on a medium heat and toast the dried chillies for a minute.
- Meanwhile peel and roughly chop the ginger, galangal (if using), garlic and shallots.
- Add to a food processor along with the turmeric and toasted chillies.
- Blitz the spices to a paste, adding a splash of water if need be.
- Trim the lemongrass stalks and bash them gently in a pestle and mortar.
- Pop a large casserole type pan on a medium heat and pour in a couple of tablespoons of groundnut oil.
- Add the star anise, cinnamon and lemongrass and fry for a minute.
- Spoon in all the spice paste from the food processor and reduce the heat a little.
- Gently saute for 10 minutes to soften, stirring often so it doesn’t catch.
- Chop the beef into 3cm pieces, removing any large pieces of fat, and add to the pan.
- Fry for a few minutes to brown then add the coconut milk along with the kaffir lime leaves.
- Turn the heat up and gently bring to the boil. Stir in the brown sugar and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Once boiling cover the pot and cook on the lowest heat for around 2 – 2.5 hours.
- Check the beef, it should be tender and falling apart. If using shin it may take longer, up to 4 hours.
- While the beef is cooking toast the coconut. If your desiccated coconut is sweetened, soak in a small bowl in boiling water for a few minutes, then drain it in a sieve to remove the excess sugar.
- Toast the coconut in a dry frying pan over a low heat until lightly golden, then keep to one side.
- When the rendang is ready, remove the lid and stir in the toasted coconut.
- Turn up the heat and bring the rendang back to the boil. You want to cook it over a medium- high heat for a further 15 – 20 minutes, so that the liquid completely cooks away and you are left with a sticky and gnarly curry, that is coated in the coconut spice mix.
- Don’t be afraid to let it catch slightly as it cooks, you want it to darken and caramelise.
- Cook your rice according to packet instructions and serve alongside the rendang, garnishing with the chopped coriander leaves.