Recipe: Beef rendang
Malaysia is a fabulous cultural melting pot and a paradise for foodies.
RICK STEIN'S BEEF RENDANG
1. For spice paste, put dried chillies in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain well, put into a food processor with remaining paste ingredients and process until smooth.
2. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add grated coconut and stir for a few minutes until golden. Remove from pan and cool, then coarsely process in a food processor.
3. Cut off and discard the top half of each lemongrass stalk. Lightly bruise the remainder with a rolling pin.
4. Put tamarind pulp into a small bowl and add 125 millilitres of hot water. Work pulp with your fingers until it has broken down and the seeds have been released. Strain through a sieve into another bowl and set aside.
5. Heat oil in a large, heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat. Add cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamom and fry gently for two minutes.
6. Add spice paste and fry for two to three minutes more until mixture smells fragrant.
7. Add beef, coconut milk, sugar, kaffir lime leaves, toasted coconut, bruised lemongrass stalks, tamarind water and salt. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and leave to simmer uncovered for 2½ to three hours, stirring occasionally, then stir more gently and frequently towards the end of cooking, to prevent it sticking on the base of the pan.
8. Eventually, the sauce reduces so much it clings to the meat. Adjust sugar and salt to taste and serve with steamed jasmine rice.