Monday, 22 July 2013

Beef Penang

Disclaimer: I am not Malaysian and I don’t really know the difference between rendang and penang, so forgive me if this is not the correct one. Formalities done, let’s proceed.

I am a big fan of no-fuss cooking. Toss everything in a pot and leave. Come back to a mouth-watering dish. Sound about perfect!

Beef penang is just that: melt-in-the-mouth pieces of beef, infused with all the lovely flavours of galangal (Filipino: langkawas), coconut, lemongrass, chili and kaffir lime. All it requires is basic prep.

Cheap cuts work best for slow cooking. Shin of beef is ideal, as the tough, sinew-y flesh is guaranteed to turn moist and buttery. A trick for this recipe is to use pre-made red curry paste (no MSG, no E-numbers), and awaken the flavours by using fresh ingredients too. I used:

1.5 kg shin of beef, chunks/diced
2 tins coconut milk (no E-numbers please!), about 800mL
2 tbsps red curry paste
2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, bashed
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 pcs star anise
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tbsp grated ginger
10 large fresh kaffir lime leaves, shredded
1 tsp cumin seeds
A bit of ghee / coconut oil
Fish sauce

1. Pre-heat oven to 140C.
2. In an oven-friendly pan, heat 2 tbsp ghee/oil on medium and fry the curry paste, garlic, ginger, cumin, lemongrass, cinnamon and star anise until fragrant. Make sure they do not burn.
3. Turn heat up, put the meat in and partially brown for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.
3. Pour in the coconut milk and stir. This should cover the meat. If not, top up with a little water. Heat up to boiling.
4. Cover and place in the oven, and let cook for about 3 hours.
5. Check the tenderness of meat and adjust seasoning with fish sauce.
6. Put back in for another 30 minutes or an hour.
7. Take out and stir in shredded lime leaves.
8. Serve on rice or lots of vegetables of your choice.

This keeps well in the fridge or freezer, and tastes so much better after a few days. If it lasts that long. ;)

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