Wood Fired Oven
Very low - heat up to about 100 Deg C. Perfect for low retained heat.(Make a large batch as the flavours definitely improve with time)
- 1 kg Beef - cut into large chunks (about 1 inch)
- 2 large onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1.5 tablespoon finally diced fresh ginger
- 4 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 medium stick of cinnamon
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 3 Lime leaves
- 4 whole cloves
- 4 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1-2 teaspoons chilli powder (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- 30 grams fresh turmeric*
- 30 grams fresh galangal
- 3 tablespoons toasted desiccated coconut
- 800mL thin coconut milk (x2 cans 400mL ea)
- 2 teaspoons salt - preferably smoked
- 1/4 cup tamarind liquid
- 800mL thick coconut milk (x2 cans 400mL ea)
- 1 handful of cashew nuts - roasted in the wood fired oven
*2.5cm (1 inch) piece of fresh turmeric = 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder approx.Oven
- Large cast-iron casserole dish - for making the Rendang
It should take between 6-8 hours to cook Rendang. Yes, you can speed up the process - but take your time and try this fairly authentic version. The total cook time depends a lot on the quality of of the meat, and the amount of liquid you add. The cooking process will go through three stages.
- The liquid stage. This is early in the process and occurs when the coconut milk is very liquid.
- This stage is identified when the coconut milk thickens and becomes quite oily. You will need to allow 3-4 hours cooking time to move through this stage.
- The final stage is the drying phase. Traditionally, this was cooked over a very low flame until the dish dries out and turns into rendang.
Place a roughly chopped onion, and all the spices (except the cinnamon and cloves) into a kitchen blender and blend until it is very smooth. If it gets too thick, add a little of the thin coconut milk. I usually prepare my tuscan grill over some burning logs to sizzle off the spices in my cast iron casserole dish before placing the dish into a very low temp oven.
Slice up the other onion. Heat the peanut oil in the casserole dish and add the onion, ginger, cinnamon stick and cloves. After a few minutes, the onion will soften and become darker.Add the blended spice mixture, desiccated coconut, the thin and thick coconut milk and salt. Mix in the tamarind liquid. Add the lime leaves and lemon grass. Cook this for a few minutes until it starts to turn a dark brown colour.
Add the beef mixture and stir well. Keep stirring to avoid it sticking on the bottom of the pan. Gently bring to the boil for about 15-20 minutes. Place casserole dish in a cooler part of the wood fired oven and simmer slowly until the beef is very tender, but still holding its shape.
Cover for the first hour or so, place the lid slightly to one side to allow the sauce to begin to evaporate. The coconut milk will thicken and eventually become oily.This could take about 3-4 hrs. The beef should be tender and delicious around then. But its not time to eat it! Give the dish a good stir.
Return to the wood fired oven and cook until the oils separate from the remaining sauce and dries up. The dish will turn a very dark brown. Remember, we are making a dry curry. The dish should have been cooking now for about 6-8 hours. At this point, you can call your dish rendang!
I like cashews on my rendang. Toast the cashew nuts over flame in a cast iron pan until golden brown.Serve the rendang with rice and freshly cooked naan bread - also made in the wood fired oven.
Drizzle with plain greek yogurt and garnish with fresh coriander leaves and the cashews. Well, that’s how I like to serve up!