Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Malaysian rendang

Malaysian rendang
Originally uploaded by rachelita2.
In Mark Bittman's March 16 column in the NY Times, there was an article on braising. The braised food sounded good over spring break in cold Washington DC, but now that I've been back in Florida, it seems like winter food that is waiting for a cold day that never comes. So after spending an hour in my backyard reading in a lawn chair and catching some rays, I headed inside to prepare this easy dish.

I'd been curious about the recipe for Coconut-Braised Beef, which sounded especially tempting because of the final step, whereby the braising liquid was reduced to a savory, caramel-colored sauce that clung to the meat.

The first step is throwing 2 dried red chilies, 3 garlic cloves, a one inch piece of peeled ginger, 1 Tblsp chili powder, and zest and juice from two limes into the food processor. It forms a reddish paste, which I then sauteed in a medium-hot skillet in a tablespoon of oil. After two minutes, I added 1.5 pounds of stew beef that I'd cut into 1 inch cubes. I browned that and then added a can of coconut milk and a half cup of water. All this I simmered, covered, for about two hours.

I then reduced the liquid to the aforementioned caramel-colored sauce, adding salt at the end, serving the curry with basmati rice.

The final product was pretty good, with a substantial kick to it from the peppers that the rice tempered slightly. The acidic flavors of the lime were prominent. I would probably give it four out of five stars, but I wasn't overwhelmed. It was a nice venture into a different kind of curry from the Indian curries I usually make, but those are the dishes that always end up Number One in my book...

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