Serve this aromatic Malaysian specialty with basmati rice or jasmine rice. It’s also great as a filling for pita or any other flatbread. For a less spicy dish, cut the amount of chilies in half.
For the flavor base:
10 dried chilies de arbol
1 1/2 cups sliced shallots
2 Tablespoons sliced garlic
1 Tablespoon sliced peeled ginger
For the whole spice blend:
4 whole cloves
4 whole green cardamom pods (can use ground)
2 whole star anise
1 3-inch long cinnamon stick, snapped in half
For the ground spice blend:
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground fresh black pepper
For the Rendang:
3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil; more if needed
2 lb boneless beef chuck, cut into small pieces
1 13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate (frozen)
3 teaspoons lime zest
2 medium lemongrass stalks, bruised with back of knife & tied in a knot
4 teaspoon Dark brown sugar
1/2 cup tightly packed unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Lime wedges (optional)
Steep dried chilies in hot water until pliable, 5-8 minutes; then slit and seed them (use gloves). Put chilies, shallots, garlic and ginger with 1/4 cup water in a food processor and process to a coarse puree, about 3 minutes. You will see little pieces of the skins.
In a small bowl, combine the cloves, cardamom pods, star anise, and cinnamon pieces. In a second small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, fennel and pepper.
Heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-low heat until simmering hot. Add the whole spice blend and cook, stirring constantly, until cinnamon sticks unfold, 1-2 minutes. Don’t let spices burn. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil and the ground spice blend and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture sizzles and becomes fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil and the flavor base and cook until puree is an intense reddish brown, about 10 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the beef and cook, stirring to coat it with the spices, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, lime zest, and lemongrass and cook stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil, about 5 minutes.
Reduce to low, add the sugar and salt, and simmer, stirring occasionally for the first hour and then more frequently as the stew thickens, until it is very thick and oil appears on its surface, about 1 3/4 hours. The meat will not be fork tender at this point.
Toast the coconut, if using, in a 10 inch skillet over low heat, until golden brown. Transfer to small bowl.
Stir coconut into stew and continue stirring until its incorporated and much of the liquid is gone. Add1 cup of water if you prefer a saucier consistency. Continue stirring until meat is fork tender (the oil will start frothing after 15 to 20 minutes).
Remove the lemongrass, cinnamon pieces, star anise, and as many cardamom pods & cloves as you can find. Transfer meat to serving platter and garish with the cilantro and lime wedges (if using).
Serve with Schmidt Family Vineyards Cal’s Folly!