Monday, July 23, 2007

nasi lemak with Mrs Lee's beef rendang

Beef Rendang
from ‘the new Mrs Lee Cookbook’

1 onion
600g beef shin
500g grated coconut water
1 rounded tbsp tamarind pulp
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Rempah (Malay term for spices pounded together)
4 slices galangal
4 slices ginger
4 cloves garlic
15 dried chillies or 2 tbsp pounded red chillies
1 stalk lemon grass
1 tbsp coriander pwd
½ tsp cumin powder

1. Soak the dried chillies in hot water
2. Slice the beef into big or small pieces, depending on your preference
3. Peel and slice the onion. Set aside.
4. Prepare the coconut milk using 570ml water.
5. Prepare the tamarind marinade using 120ml water. (Soak the tarmarind paste in the water for at least 15 minutes, and then use your fingers to rub the flesh from the seeds. Strain and scrap with a seive)
6. Prepare the rempah. Deseed then roughly chop the soaked dried chillies. Peel and roughly slice the galangal, ginger and garlic. Pound/ blend together the coriander powder and cumin, adding the peeled and bruised lemon grass (use white portion only) last.

1. Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to the boil then simmer uncovered until the sauce has reduced by half. Cover and simmer for 30 min until the meat is tender. (This step took more than 2 hours..)

While shopping for the ingredients, David asked me a memorable question: "Why do we have to buy lemongrass?? It grows everywhere in Malaysia ...and is common (and free) as sand!!!"

the recipe for the coconut nasi lemak was from Lily's blog. Came out beautifully! Instead of steaming, we used a rice cooker. Very simple!!

The anchovies and peanuts sambal was also in the same recipe....but it was more challenging though....and I MUST warn you that the smell of the anchovies is very strong! We used the microwave method....around 12 minutes in total....I thank God that the cooking wasn't done at my house.... but the bag which i brought along is still smelling of anchovies and sambal after nearly 4 days!!!! Yikes!

As for the didn't thicken as well as we would have liked but the taste was definitely authentic...
but's very labour intensive..and quite titrate accordingly....the Mrs Lee in question is SM Lee Kuan Yew's mom by the way...

Conclusion: Nonya dishes are best cooked in a well-ventilated (read: kampung) kitchen and in a tropical climate where all these herbs and spices are plentiful and growing in your own backyard! Will i cook these dishes again?? Not likely....only the nasi lemak was really fragrant..the rendang...hmmm..i m wondering whether a slow cooker can do the job better...cos we had to keep watching whether the sauce had reduced enough....Prima taste has a pre-mix version...i think that's good enough!

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