Noble Raya rendang made double-quick


Tenderising beef cuts in pressure cooker speeds up cooking of this revered dish

BEEF rendang stands as a revered Malay dish, celebrated for its tender, slow-cooked meat infused with a rich blend of spices and coconut.

Originating from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia, this traditional Southeast Asian dish has evolved into various regional variations, each reflecting unique culinary influences.

One such variation is Rendang Tok from Perak with its distinguished status as indicated by its name “tok”, which means “elder” or “senior”.

Rendang Tok is distinguished by the absence of gravy and has garnish of finely julienned turmeric and kaffir lime leaves. — Photos: LOW LAY PHON/The StarRendang Tok is distinguished by the absence of gravy and has garnish of finely julienned turmeric and kaffir lime leaves. — Photos: LOW LAY PHON/The Star

The nomenclature suggests its association with nobility, possibly stemming from its historical preparation by elders for the royal household and noblemen.

Over time, Rendang Tok has transcended its aristocratic origins to become a beloved dish enjoyed by people from all walks of life, especially during festive occasions like Hari Raya.

According to the traditional recipe, Rendang Tok is prepared with buffalo meat, known to contain a lot of tendon and flavourful meat, although it is now more common to use tougher cuts of beef such as chuck or round.

Prolonged simmering is crucial to transform the sinews into tender collagen and to concentrate the flavours of the spices and meat.

Toast grated coconut in wok until dry and fragrant for kerisik and to be sprinkled into dish.Toast grated coconut in wok until dry and fragrant for kerisik and to be sprinkled into dish.

Unlike other variations, Rendang Tok is characterised by the absence of gravy.

Instead, the dish is cooked until the sauce caramelises, enveloping the meat in a luscious dark amber glaze.

Although a market butcher had advised against using a pressure cooker to tenderise the meat, I found success in doing so.

By pressure cooking for an hour, equivalent to approximately three hours of simmering, I achieved the desired tenderness.

Heat oil to temper cinnamon, star anise and clove until fragrant, then add in the spice paste.Heat oil to temper cinnamon, star anise and clove until fragrant, then add in the spice paste.

However, as pressure cookers retain liquid, I had to simmer without covering with a lid for an additional 30 minutes to reduce the gravy to the correct thickness.

Another distinctive feature of Rendang Tok is the garnish of julienned turmeric and kaffir lime leaves, which not only make the dish more appealing but also contribute immensely to its flavour.

Rendang Tok is best served with lemang but it also pairs well with rice, turmeric rice, ketupat or bread.

In savouring each tender bite of Rendang Tok, we delight in its sumptuous flavours and pay homage to the vibrant tapestry of Malaysian culinary heritage.

Rendang Tok

Dry rub

20g cumin

20g coriander seeds

20g fennel seeds

1kg beef chuck, cut into cubes

Spice paste

150g shallots

100g galangal, sliced

30g ginger, sliced

30g fresh turmeric root, sliced

40g dried red chillies, seeded and soaked

40g garlic

3 stalks lemongrass, sliced

Ingredients

100ml oil

5cm cinnamon stick

4 star anise

10 cloves

1litre coconut milk

2 stalks lemongrass, crushed

1 tsp sugar to taste

2 tsp salt to taste

3 tbsp black pepper

450g grated coconut, toasted

Garnish

2 turmeric leaves, finely julienned

4 kaffir lime leaves, finely julienned

Instructions

Marinate beef with dry rub for about 30 minutes.

Blend the spice ingredients into a fine paste and set aside.

Toast the grated coconut in the wok until dry and fragrant.

Divide into two portions; one to be blended finely into kerisik (paste made of toasted grated coconut) and the other to be sprinkled into the final dish.

When spice paste has split from the oil, stir in the beef.When spice paste has split from the oil, stir in the beef.

Heat the oil to temper the cinnamon, star anise and cloves until fragrant.

Stir in the spice paste for about five to 10 minutes until the oil splits.

Add the beef, coconut milk and crushed lemongrass.

Cook over medium heat for three hours, stirring occasionally, until gravy is thick and beef is tender.

After coating the beef in spice paste, add in the coconut milk and crushed lemongrass.After coating the beef in spice paste, add in the coconut milk and crushed lemongrass.

Alternatively, cook in a pressure pot for an hour until the beef is tender, then depressurise and reduce the liquid with kerisik over medium heat for about 30 minutes until the gravy thickens.

Season to taste with sugar, salt and pepper.

Stir in the toasted coconut until rendang is dry and the oil splits.

Garnish with aromatic leaves and serve with rice or lemang.

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retro recipe , raya , rendang

   

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