I met Norman Musa at the IFE and we had a good chat about Malaysian food in the UK. He has kindly let me share this recipe which is from his book, Malaysian Food. Norman runs the Malaysian Ning Restarant in Manchester.
This is Norman’s easier version of Beef Rendang and he has his own twist to the traditional recipe.
6 tbsp cooking oil
6 tbsp blended lemongrass
2 tbsp blended galangal
1 tbsp blended onion
1 tbsp blended garlic
1 tbsp blended ginger
4 tbsp dried chilli paste
4 tbsp tamarind juice
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tbsp dark palm sugar block, broken into small pieces
100ml water (1st part)
500g beef, topside, cut into thin slices
1 lemongrass (use bottom half and bruised)
4 tbsp coconut milk
100ml water (2nd part)
4 makrut (aka kaffir) lime leaves
2 tbsp kerisik (roasted coconut)
Heat up the cooking oil in a saucepan. Add the blended lemongrass and galangal. Cook for 5 minutes until the aroma rises. Next add the blended onion, garlic and ginger.
Cook for a further 5 minutes until it turns brown. Add the blended chilli paste, tamarind juice, white sugar, salt and dark coconut sugar. Cook until the oil separates.
Next add the fresh beef, bruised lemongrass and 1st part water and simmer on a low heat until dry. Once dried, add the coconut milk and 2nd part water and simmer again on a low heat until dry and the oil separates. The simmering in total takes about an hour. This will make the beef tender and give it plenty of time to absorb the rich flavours of the other ingredients.
Finally add the lime leaves and kerisik (roasted coconut) and cook for a further 5 minutes until the kerisik has blended in well. Ready to serve with rice.
Norman’s short cut kerisik recipe: (from an article on guardian.co.uk)
The authentic way of making this is by frying desiccated coconut until brown and then blending it until the coconut turns into a paste.
However, thanks to my best friend Yosrie, he taught me to do it a quicker way by putting the coconut block (creamed coconut) in a microwave oven for 3 minutes. Stir it immediately and microwave for further 1 minute to make it darker.
Like magic, it turns to roasted coconut of the same quality as if it was done authentically. One block of creamed coconut block can produce up to 8 tablespoons of kerisik. I get so proud telling my students how they will save time preparing it this way.