Friday, 28 September 2007

Beef Rendang

You know those dishes that are placed reverently in front of you in really great restaurants, the ones delicately constructed using a broad palette of harmonious colours, silky sauce lapping on juicy meat, and a fey garnish that crowns the tower like a Philip Treacy creation on Ladies Day at Ascot? Well Beef Rendang is not one of them.

When Beef Rendang was first created, it was well and truly beaten with the ugly stick. If it were a politician it would be Ann Widdecombe. If it were a sportsman it would be Wayne Rooney. A Z-lister? Step forward, Jade.

To be fair though, it does look slightly better than Andrew Lloyd Webber.

However, just like most of these ugly celebrities, Beef Rendang has hidden talents. Rooney is a very gifted footballer, Lloyd Webber can solve problems like Maria, and Ann Widdecombe..., well anyway, the unattractive sight of a bowl of Rendang says nothing about the wonder of its flavour.

Beef Rendang is slowly cooked over a number of hours which allows the spices and aromatics to really penetrate the meat. The coconut milk is reduced to a mere coating and thickened at the end with toasted coconut flesh, mashed to a pulp with a pestle and mortar. The citric tang of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and ginger comes through subtly in the end product. In authentic Rendang turmeric leaves are used, however I had to use powder instead. Apparently every Malay family has its own recipe for Rendang, just like every Italian family has its own recipe for tomato sauce.

And check out the picure. It's amazing what you can do with a few slices of julienned chilli. Hardly the make-up of make-up artists but it certainly makes a pile of brown slop look ready for a night out. Ann Widdecombe take note: make clever use of red chillies and eternal spinsterhood might not be such a certainty after all.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Pete, your blog is great and your food looks amazing!!! Are you sure you need Leiths?? See you soon, lets have lunch again soon. Steve.