As Autumn starts to settle in and the temperature begins to drop I find myself thinking of warming foods such as curry. I have a good recipe for Rendang Daging (rich and spicy coconut beef) which is packed full of flavour from Malaysia. Malaysia has been a melting pot of different cultures over the centuries including Indian, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and Portuguese, and Malay cuisine is where all these different influences and flavours meet and mingle.
Coconut milk adds a delicious smoothness to curries and Rendang Daging is traditionally prepared during festive and ceremonial occasions. Tamarind pulp is used in this dish and Tamarind is a fruit that is native to Malaysia. It adds a fragrant sourness to the dish and is actually an ingredient in Worcestershire Sauce!
Rich Coconut Beef (Rendang Daging)
½ cup of olive oil
3 cm cinnamon stick
4 star anise
2 cardamom pods
500g topside beef, cubed
1 cup coconut milk
2 tsp dried tamarind pulp (soaked in warm water for juice). Alternatively you can use tamarind paste which is more commonly available,
a splash of lime juice (or 2 kaffir lime leaves if you can get them)
pinch of turmeric
1 ½ tsp sugar
salt to taste
2 tbsp kerisik (grated coconut roasted in a slow oven until brown)
3 lemon grass
2 cloves of garlic
2cm of fresh ginger root
10 dried chillies, soaked in hot water
Chop the spice paste ingredients and then puree in a blender until fine, Heat the oil, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and cardamom and fry for 5 mins.
Add the beef, coconut milk and tamarind juice. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until the meat is almost cooked, Add the lime juice, tumeric, kerisik, sugar and salt. Lower the heat and simmer (about 1 – 1 ½ hours) until the meat is really tender and the juices have dried up. Serve with rice.
Sparkling wine can complement the exotic aromas and spices in Asian foods: it is refreshing and has a good level of acidity which creates a mouth watering effect. Too high an abv can add to the heat of the chillies so to avoid a burning sensation stick to a sparkling wine that is around 12% or below.
Comte de Ferrand Blanc de Blancs is a good choice at 11% abv. Made from Ugni Blanc grapes it's fresh, clean and has nicely balanced acidity. In the mouth it's bursting with soft fruits: white peach, quince and subtle hints of mandarin orange abd apricot. The bouquet is one of floral aromas such as magnolia and jasmine. It's delicious with spicy food!