Serve with steamed jasmine aromatic rice for a fulfilling dish that satisfies every need. You can make it too. Just follow our instructions and you'll end up with a delicious meal to impress.
Be brave - Malaysians cook by taste rather than the 'half a teaspoon' school of cookery.
Be flexible -if you don't have a particular ingredient either leave it out or substitute.
Be a chef and not a cook - taste as you go along.
Be pragmatic - all good things have gone into it. If it's not perfect don't worry. It's good for you!
6 X shallots - peeled
Approx inch or 2 of galangal
3 x lemongrass sticks remember to remove some of the coarse outer leaf
6 - 8 cloves (or 1 head) of garlic - peeled
Approx inch or 2 of ginger - peeled
Fresh red chilli to taste
Tamarind pulp & juice about ½ cup (soak in warm water, squeeze, save juice and discard seeds)
1.5kg lamb shanks
2 x can of coconut milk
Approx 1 cup of dessicated coconut (see kerisik above)
1 x 2 inch cinnamon stick
6 cloves of garlic
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods
Salt to taste
Chef’s tip – the smaller and more seeds you have the hotter the chilli. Choose large red chillies and deseed
1. At 54 we only use top quality meat. Buy the best. It is worth it. All you need to do is seal the meat in hot oil in a pan until it's a nice golden brown. Set aside.
2. Fresh herbs and spices are the backbone of Malay cooking so you must make an effort to get fresh. Some of the more unusual spices can be bought on the internet if you do not live near a large Asian supplier. Follow instructions below.
3. In Malaysia you'd get a coconut from the garden, chop it open, save the milk and grate the flesh. As we don't have a coconut tree handy at 54 we use dried coconut which does give the rendang an intense flavour. What you are aiming to make is KERISIK - toasted coconut. You dry fry the coconut until golden and toasted. Keep stirring and take it off the heat, or tip it out, as soon as it is golden as it can burn quickly and then becomes bitter. Put to one side (if you burn it start again - don't use it).
4. Cook slowly. Two and a half hours on a low heat is about right. Take it out of the oven and leave to cool IN THE SAUCE. This is important as the meat will absorb the sauce as it cools.
5. Mix the meat and spices together in a pot. Add coconut milk and cook for 2 ½ hours. Do NOT be tempted to add water. The spices will release moisture and will be absorbed by the meat along with the coconut milk. Remember rendang is a 'dry-style' curry traditionally eaten by hand.
6. Remove from the oven and leave meat to relax in the sauce. This is very important, as the meat will absorb the sauce as it cools. So, do not skip this step.
7. Finally, stir in the kerisik and the final spices. Do this gently as you do not want to knock the meat off the bone. It should be so tender that it will slide off with very little effort.
Chef's tip - Don't be afraid to make changes. Omit, add, increase or decrease ingredients. There is no definitive rule.