This is sweet, rich, spiced and lightly coconutty, but the star is the meltingly soft beef. This slightly Indianised version of the South-east Asian classic is easy and needs little more than 20 minutes of your attention. It works really well; in fact so well that I promise you will crave this dish. Serve it with rice.
Anjum Anand's Beef rendang
For the spice paste
6 shallots, peeled and quartered
8 fat garlic cloves, peeled
30g root ginger, peeled weight,
3–4 large red chillies, halved, deseeded if you prefer
2 lemon grass stalks, trimmed and chopped
For the rendang
5 tbsp vegetable oil
6 green cardamom pods
2 star anise
2 shards of cassia bark or cinnamon sticks
1kg good chuck stewing beef, cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 onions, sliced
400g can of coconut milk
finely grated zest and juice of
2 tsp palm sugar or other sugar
2 lemon grass stalks, bruised
11⁄2 tsp tamarind paste, or to taste
50g creamed coconut, dissolved in 50ml hot water
1 tsp garam masala
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
2 To make the spice paste, blend together the shallots, garlic, ginger, chillies and lemon grass, adding a little water to help. (I use my hand-held blender.)
3 Heat the oil in a medium-large ovenproof saucepan. Add the whole spices and follow with the spice paste, cooking until all the excess liquid has dried up. Stir-fry the paste for five to seven minutes. If it threatens to burn, add a splash of water.
4 Add the beef and onions and cook for another three to five minutes in the paste, stirring often, or until all the beef has some colour. Add the coconut milk, lime zest, palm sugar and the whole bruised lemon grass stalks. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for 11⁄2 hours, or until the beef is meltingly soft. Check halfway through, stirring in any browned bits on the edges.
5 When done, replace the pot on the hob and stir in the tamarind paste, creamed coconut and garam masala. Taste and adjust the seasoning, also adding the lime juice to taste. Serve hot.
ANJUM’S QUICK & EASY INDIAN by ANJUM ANAND, published by Quadrille (£18.99)
Photos ©LISA LINDER
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This recipe was first published in Thu Aug 28 16:40:56 BST 2014.