Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Getting the ball rolling with Beef Rendang

I love Thai food. 

It started with just a liking and then developed in to a full-blown obsession when I worked around the corner from Chiang Mai Kitchen in Oxford UK. My husband and I would go there for lunch at least once a week. 

We would almost always have the same thing - Red Chicken Curry. But occasionally I would have something else and that would often be Beef Rendang. 

Recently I was buying red curry paste and the Rendang paste was right alongside it so I bought some of that too and thought I'd give it a go. I searched for some recipes, then sort of hybridized two and came up with the recipe below.

I cook with gravy beef (beef shin) a lot of the time because it's cheap but it has a lot of flavour. I enjoy the challenge of turning a cheap, tough cut of meat in to a delicious tender meal. 

Beef Rendang

4 lady serves (or 2-3 man serves)

600g stewing beef (shin, chuck etc)
2 ½ teaspoons Mae Ploy Rendang curry paste
1 teaspoon lazy ginger
4 cloves
½ cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 lime leaves
240ml tin coconut milk (I used Woolworths Select because it doesn't separate)
2 level dessert spoons brown sugar
6 mushrooms (optional)
½ a red pepper (optional)
soy sauce, lemon juice and salt to taste

Brown beef in batches in oil in a frypan on medium to high heat. Put in to casserole dish/pot (I used a large cast-iron dutch oven, but it was almost too big for the small batch of curry)

Add more oil to pan, turn heat to low and put cloves, cinnamon and star anise in pan. Toast for a minute or so. Add ginger, curry paste and a small amount of coconut milk (enough to stop the curry paste spitting)

Gently cook the curry paste for a few minutes. Add more coconut milk if necessary.

Transfer paste/spice/coconut milk mix in to the pot with the beef. Add remaining coconut milk, brown sugar, lime leaves and a splash of soy sauce. Bring to a gentle boil then turn heat to low (barely bubbling). Cook for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, until beef is tender

Adjust seasonings as necessary to get the right balance of hot-sour-salt-sweet. Add another splash of soy and then more salt if needed (I tend to almost over-salt to compensate for plain rice). 

I also added more lemon juice to my batch. You may need to add chilli powder if your curry paste isn't very hot. 

Serve with stir-fried veg (snow peas, cauliflower, zuchini) if you want to make it paleo, rice if you don't.  

The curry at the beginning of cooking time

Apologies for the poor quality photos. I am just learning about photographing food!

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