5-6 fresh red peppers, seeded and chopped small
half a thumb-size of ginger
1 tsp. shrimp paste
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped small
1 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. ground coriander
sautéing oil of your choice
2 lbs. beef tenderloin, cubed
thumb-size of fresh galangal (from an Asian market, frozen optional)
1 stalk lemongrass
5-6 pieces of lime leaf
5 pieces of bay leaf
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. salt
1 can coconut milk
Place the peppers, ginger, shrimp paste, garlic, turmeric and coriander in a food processor or blender with 2 tablespoons water and pulse until the mixture is pasted. Place that paste into a medium-sized pan with a thin coating of medium-hot oil and cook until the paste has changed color and smells good.
Place beef cubes in the pan, adding enough water to cover the beef only. Add the galangal, lemongrass, lime leaf, bay leaf, sugar and salt. Stir occasionally until the meat is no longer pink inside and the meat juice has mostly evaporated, about 20 minutes.
Pour in the coconut milk and bring to boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer for about a half an hour or until the sauce is thickened. Add a little more coconut milk and water if needed to avoid dryness or burning, but on a low simmer, it shouldn't be necessary. (Cooking with a pressure-cooker will save time. At the restaurant, it takes us six to seven hours to cook 20-pound batches without pressure.) Serves 8.
Beef Rendang is originally from Minangkabau (West Sumatra, Indonesia). One time when I was a kid, my dad brought me a meal from Minang and he said, "I brought you something really good and tasty." He opened it and I was like, "Eewwww ... what is this?" It was a bunch of meat covered by red and yellowish sauce. I said, "No way, I'm not going to eat that, it looks like bird poop." He said, "Try it — it's good, trust me." I finally did try it, and the first word from my mouth was, "Wow!" I said, "How many portions did you buy?" It was actually really good, and I ended up getting yelled at by my mom because I almost finished it all.
— Submitted by Thai Satay chef/owner Gary Sanova