So I have a new game with my kids. Every week, I blindfold one of them, spin the child around and they’ll point randomly at a place on my world map.
And the Boy two weeks ago pointed at Mali! I know nothing about Mali so when researching about this country, I found out that a popular and perhaps the National dish of Mali is meat in peanut sauce. It uses peanut butter! Loving the idea already!
So last week was the day I had to cook a dish from the country picked. I chose to make this dish using lamb cubes. The outcome was amazing! It almost tasted like Malay-style peanut sauce that we usually eat with our satay or ketupat (rice cakes) except there’s no spice or chilli at all here.
I had just bought beautiful lamb curry cubes from this online butcher here and decided to make this Michelin star chef’s rogan josh. Boy, was I glad I followed his recipe instead of buying those ready made rogan josh in a jar!
It’s so easy to make but watching on YouTube and pausing, reading his recipe in description took a lot of time so let me break this down.
First step is to marinade the lambs cubes with yogurt and saffron and ginger garlic paste. I used 500g of lamb curry cuts and 2small tubs of yogurt, followed by a pinch of saffron.
Then prepare the spice mix. One is to fry and the other is to add to the lamb mixture when it’s half cooked.
Usually during Eid/Hari Raya, Malay homes will be resplendent with the aroma of rich spices of festive cooking. And for many homes here, beef rendang is a traditional festive dish.
While I did make this last week for Eid/Hari Raya, my obsession with finding the perfect beef rendang continues. And I am obsessed with trying out William Wongso’s recipe and technique.
William Wongso is legendary in the Indonesian world of beef rendangs. I believe he took this humble dish to the West, or rather popularised it. His method is crazy! Simmering the beef rendang for 8 hours in order to get that rich caramelised flavour. Though, in a video I watched on YouTube, he did concede one can use an oven too.
Beef rendang originated in the Indonesian island of Sumatra. There are many variations of it, and I know I’ve posted several versions of this dish. I usually make this in a pressure cooker because it’s fast and the flavours get retained. But I thought, I should try Willy Wongso’s way.
His rempah, or spice paste is mild. I used the recipe from this Jakarta Post site
Instead of using fresh coconut, I used the packet cream ones. Since the cream ones are thicker, I used 900g of cream coconut, added about 100ml of water and then the spice paste. I added the beef and then the aromatics i.e. lemongrass, turmeric leaves, kaffir lime leaves. And then I added on asam keping, tamarind fruit. Added salt and then I placed it in the oven for 1.5 hours.
Now, after that, I thought it’d be done but I was wrong! Even though I had placed it in the oven for 1.5 hours at 200 Celcius, when I took it out, the mixture was still yellow.
So I continued cooking on the stove top for another 3 hours! Yes! That’s how long it takes to cook rendang!
Here are the steps, and if you want to try this, use tenderloin (it was too expensive for me, so I use chuck) and make sure you remove the lemongrass after a while. I made the mistake of stirring the lemongrass while waiting for the rendang to caramelise, which resulted in many small pieces of lemongrass spikes. It took me ages to pull all of them out of the mixture!
And there I have done it. Slow cooking rendang without frying the rempah first but cooking the rempah in the coconut cream till caramelised. If you want to be adventurous and have lots of patience and time on your hands, I highly recommend trying to make this. It is after all voted as one of the top 50 foods to try by CNN.
My first time ever cooking beef cheeks! I had seen this at the premium butcher and decided to try it. Beef cheeks takes an extremely long time to cook, but when it’s done, it’s so soft and gelatinous. Well, not that gelatinous, but definitely it doesn’t have the firm meaty texture of regular cuts of beef.
I decided to just cook them simply. My supermarket ran out of non-alcoholic red wine so what I did was to first sear the beef cheek, and then in my cast iron enamel pot, simmer it with a whole bottle of passata, chicken stock, lots of rosemary sprigs, garlic, a dash of Maggi seasoning (or Worcestershire sauce), salt. Because this took almost three hours to cook! The resulting sauce was soooooo sweet! But like I swore to my mom who had come to visit that night, I did not add any sugar! The sweetness really came from the hours of simmering, rendering the tomato passata sweet naturally.
The next day, I turned the beef cheeks into a burger. It was the bomb! Soft buttered toasted buns, alfalfa sprouts, baby spinach leaves, beef cheeks and slather some of its sauce over.
I doubt I’ll be making this again not because it’s not delicious, but nobody in the family liked the soft gelatinous texture of beef cheeks. Oh, well. At least I enjoyed my cheeks!