Some friends (and at times some busybodies too..) asked me what do I do at home when hubby's off to work. Well, I would say my life so far has been really great and I am well-occupied. Cooking, cleaning the house, doing daily shopping, browsing for new recipes, doing the laundry, quality times with hubby, etc. So far, every weekend is spent traveling around. Not too much of shopping activities as yet (so perhaps, some acquaintances can forget the idea of asking me to get them something from the factory outlet. I rather fill my luggage with my stuff) As much as I do miss the office, I don't really feel like going back either. Oh well, good times always fly fast.
Speaking of cooking, I made this rendang 2 days ago, after badly craving for something spicy and has a hint of 'raya' (oops.. please don't misconstrue the word 'craving' yah.. I just cooked it because I love rendang)
What was special about this rendang is that I made the kerisik and the chiili paste myself. And best of all, the rendang received a mark of 9/10 from my hubby :D Of course I was excited about it, because his tastebuds are hard to please! Oh, that 1 mark deduction was because the rendang was a bit hot. Hubby doesn't really like his meals to taste hot, unless they are sambal.
Ok so, let me walk you through..
The chilli paste
To make the chilli paste less hot, discard all the chilli seeds by cutting the chillies. Soaking the chillies (which are already being cut) in water may help to get rid of the seeds, in case you don't really wanna get rid of seeds from the chillies one by one.
Then, boil the chillies until they appear softened. Don't forget to add in a bit of salt into the water. You can stir once in a while (well, there's no restrictions to do so!) Then, when you're done boiling, let them cool off for a while. Place them in the blender and add in water and 3-4 tablespoons of cooking oil before blending. The cooking oil will help to smoothen the texture of the chilli paste.
There you go, the finely-blended chilli paste
Ok, let's move on to the next one
I didn't have the slightest idea that morning that I would be making the kerisik myself. I told myself that if I were to look high and low, I would probably find it. But I guess I didn't look as thorough as I should, or maybe because it was just not there. Luckily I managed to find dessicated coconut. So here goes..
Pour in the dessicated coconut onto a pan. No oil necessary. Just the dessicated coconut. Heat it until the dessicated coconut becomes more brownish from time to time. Near-to-dark-brown is just fine.
Mine turned out like this. I wanted it to be dark brown so that my rendang will turn out darker :)
Next, blend the brown dessicated coconut with 3 tablespoon of cooking oil. No water needed. Well, yeah it's kinda difficult to blend without water. But, yeah, just try to do it anyway.
So this was my kerisik outcome. Yeah, a little coarse, just the way I wanted it to be :)
Okay, so now it's time to make rendang!!
Well, these are basically all the things you need :)
The back row: Cooking oil, cumin powder (jintan manis), coriander (ketumbar), nutmeg powder (serbuk buah pala), fennel seed (jintan putih), salt;
In the bowls: tamarind juice, chilli paste, blended ingredients (1 large onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 inch of ginger, 1 inch of galangal, 3 stalks of lemongrass, 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder) Remember the blended ingredients are estimations for 300 grams of meat. If your meat weighs more, then you may need to double the numbers. Still, it depends on your taste of rendang. I mean like how you expect it to be;
3/4 Can of Carnation evaporated milk (to replace coconut milk), 300 grams of meat, palm sugar (Gula Melaka), kaffir lime leaf and of course, cinnamon, star anise, cardamon and cloves. I call them 'the four friends'.
Right, so we are ready to start cooking our rendang!
Heat the pan. Pour in the cooking oil and wait for it to get heated up. Then pour in the blended ingredients and the four friends into the pan. Stir well and until the oil emerges on top of the ingredients, then put in the chilli paste. Stir thoroughly and again, wait until the oil emerges.
Then pour in half can of the evaporated milk. Stir well, then put the meat in the mixture. Let it cook until the gravy looks thick enough.
It will look something like this
If the gravy is getting thicker and the meat is not yet well-cooked, feel free to add in water in the amount that you feel is good enough to get the meat to tender. Remember to cook on medium heat.
Figure the tenderness of the meat every 15 minutes.. because then the meat is almost okay, then only you can pour in the tamarind juice (well, my grandma said that pouring in the tamarind juice too early will result in the meat hard to be tendered). Also, add in the remaining evaporated milk, kaffir lime leaf , palm sugar and all the spices. Add to your own taste ya. I love the nutmeg powder. And the palm sugar will help to darken the rendang. Stir the gravy well.
The final ingredient to be added in after the gravy has thicken again is the kerisik. Mix it into the gravy well. Don't forget to put in salt to taste.
So, this was my end-product (well, I cooked it further until it became dry and thicker.. dah malas nak take pictures..) I was glad that that hubby enjoyed it :)