It has been more than three years since I posted my Beef Rendang recipe. I am pleasantly surprised that to this day I still get the occasional inquiry and request with regards to protein substitution, alternative cooking methods, or the usage of a different spice mix to make the paste. Especially after September of last year, when Rendang topped the readers’ choice list of CNN’s “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods”. I am guessing that should be a plausible factor as to why Rendang suddenly scrambled on to a lot of people’s “to-cook” list.
South-East Asian curries are unique with their own distinctive tastes and names. Rendang, Panang, Kari Ayam, Massaman, just to name a few. All in all they share different takes and preferences on blended spices and other fragrant aromatics. For those of you who have yet to be acquainted with the exotic delicacy that is Rendang, it is in a nutshell, a mildly spicy, rich and flavorful, semi-dry curry that is popular throughout the South-East Asian region, especially in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. And it is one of the main dishes that is served during Malay weddings and festivities.
This delicacy is especially dear to my heart because it brings back fond memories of how my mom used to break out her cache of spices tucked neatly away in an airtight Tupperware container marked “Rendang” and carefully measure each and every spice with her traditional mini brass metal kitchen scales that resemble an upright stickman dangling a wok on each hand.
As I’ve pointed out back in my Beef Rendang post, no two Rendang can turn out the exact same way. Mainly due to the varying amount of spices used and the ever crucial reduction process to allow the absorption of the spices into the meat yet not over-drying it. This time around, I am going to make Rendang using lamb, with a slight variation of the spices, and braising it in a crock pot/slow cooker. This was actually quite a leap for me as my preferred method have always been to stew it on the stovetop. But lo and behold, it turned out to be every bit as scrumptious as depicted.