We had 2 beautiful Ox Cheeks (a very under-rated and under-used cut of beef in the UK) from The Buffalo Farm and decided we wanted to do something homely, wholesome, rich, a real winter warming comfort food. Something that wraps you up in a warm blanket and gives you a big hug! – So we looked to Indonesia and the classic Beef Rendang curry which we served with Spicy Rice. Beef Rendang is a firm favourite with most who have tried it and topped the “World’s best 50 foods” list in 2011. It’s traditionally prepared by the Malaysian and Indonesian communities for weddings and other ceremonial occasions and this is our take on the classic dish.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 2 Ox Cheeks (approx. 650g in weight) cut into 1 inch cubes.
- 1 Lemongrass Stalk.
- 1 Brown Onion, cut into quarters.
- 4 Garlic Cloves.
- 2 Thumb size pieces of Ginger.
- 3 Red Chillies.
- 1 Cinnamon Stick.
- 4 Kaffir Lime Leaves.
- 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar.
- 2 Tbsp Light Soy sauce.
- 2 Tbsp Dark Soy sauce.
- ¾ Tbsp Tamarind paste.
- 1 tsp Ground Turmeric.
- 1 Tbsp (heaped) Ground Coriander.
- 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin.
- ¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg.
- ¼ tsp Ground Cloves.
- 6 Cardamom Pods.
- 400ml Coconut Milk.
- 1 Tbsp Rapeseed oil.
Place the Garlic, Lemongrass, Ginger, Onion and Chillies into a food processor and blitz to form a paste. If it isn’t coming together you can add a few drops of water to loosen the mixture.
In a large pan, heat the oil over a high heat, then add the paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the ground spices, sugar and opened Cardamom pods (To open the pods crush them gently with the back of a knife). Continue to fry until the spice paste becomes darker and more aromatic.
Add the diced Ox cheeks to the pan and stir until the meat is browned on all sides. Pour in the Coconut milk and use is to deglaze the pot if required. Add the Tamarind paste, Dark Soy sauce and the Light Soy sauce. Bring the mixture up to the boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Break the Cinnamon stick in half and add to the pan along with the Kaffir Lime leaves. Season with a little salt, then put the lid on the pot and cook for 2 – 2.5 hours. If the Mixture dries out too much before the meat is tender, reduce the heat on the pot and add a little more water. This wont effect the overall final dish as once the meat is tender the water can be cooked off to leave a thick coating paste over the meat.
Serve with a garnish of fresh coriander leaves. We served the Rendang with Spicy Rice but you could serve it with a steamed rice or even flat breads.