1.25kg gravy beef or chuck steak, cut into 3cm-4cm pieces
3 medium brown onions, peeled, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly sliced
2 1/2 Tbs ground coriander
1 1/2 Tbs ground fennel
1 1/2 Tbs ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
10-15 dried chillies, seeds removed, cut into small pieces, rehydrated in hot water for 20 minutes (reserve 1 cup chilli water for cooking)
4 stalks lemongrass, white part only, dry outer layers removed, finely sliced
3cm galangal (fattest part), peeled and finely sliced
3cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1 Tbs tamarind paste – easily found in a jar at supermarkets or Asian grocers
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
800mL coconut milk
1 cup reserved chilli water
150g kerisik (150g desiccated coconut required – see method below)
Extra brown sugar and salt to balance at the end
Combine all rempah ingredients in a blender and blitz into a smooth paste. Pour into a large mixing bowl together with beef and mix thoroughly. Cover, refrigerate and leave to marinate overnight, or for 2 hours at minimum.
To cook, transfer meat into a large non-stick saucepan. Add remaining ingredients except kerisik and cook uncovered on a low to medium heat until half the liquid has evaporated.
Stir occasionally to check the mixture is not catching on the bottom.
To make kerisik, simply dry toast 150g desiccated coconut in a medium fry pan, tossing regularly until it develops a deep golden brown. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder to grind into a grainy paste.
Add kerisik and cook until the rendang develops into a dark brown with most of the liquid
evaporated and beef tender. This should take 1-1 1/2 hours.
Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice and fresh cucumber.