Just a passing glance…

I saw this at a shop near my house that day…

Adabi rendang powder 1

This was my mum’s favourite brand when it came to curry powder, those days when she was still cooking. I cast one passing glance at the back and saw the word kerisik (toasted grated coconut)…

Adabi rendang powder

…so without a second thought, I bought two packets, RM1.00 each, as they were not very big, thinking that now I would be able to try cooking rendang without having to go and buy a packet of kerisik and ending up stuck with the rest of it after using just a bit.

I still had one of the three packs of fresh beef…

Fresh beef from Perth
*Archive photo*

…that my Perth friend, who reads my blog regularly, gave me when he came home for Chinese New Year. I marinated the steaks in one with just salt and pepper and some thyme, all pre-sliced, and grilled them in a pan and yes, they were so very nice and tender, really really fresh. I opened another pack and tried cooking beef stew with it after looking at some youtube videos as to how I would be able to get it nice and brown but no, with all that spluttering, I decided to cut that part of the cooking short so the stew was rather pale even though it tasted great. I had one big pack left and despite my resolution not to cook curry and the like with it as all the spices and ingredients would drown out the nice beef taste, I went ahead and used it for my rendang.

When I got home, I looked at the packet again and horror of horrors!!! It was powder, not one of those instant pastes. *Cold sweat!* Then only did I realise my mistake – the kerisik mentioned was one of the items in the recipe, not the ingredients of what was in the packet. What? 10-15 shallots??? Goodness gracious me!!! And such a long list too! No wonder Malaysian/Malay dishes taste so nice – they really go all out, obviously.

Ah well!!! Since I had bought it already, I might as well give it a try. I cut the beef steaks into bite-size pieces and marinated it with the powder…

Beef, marinated

…after which, I put that in the fridge while I got everything else ready.

Of course, I did not use 10-15 shallots, just around 5 or 6…and 3-4 cloves of garlic, a chunk of ginger, one stick of seraiΒ (lemon grass) and a few slices of lengkuas (galangal). Two inches of garlic again? Inches? I think there was something wrong with the recipe but no, as always, I did not follow it faithfully and I added some kunyit (turmeric) and chili, no mention of those in the list…

Ingredients for pounding

…and I pounded everything till it was fine enough…

Pounded ingredients

Of course it would be easier with a blender but no, I never use that plus I did not find doing this all that difficult at all. I sure had a lot of training when I was helping my mum in the kitchen everytime she cooked curry – and yes, she would like it a little finer than this.

I heated up a bit of oil to fry the pounded ingredients till golden brown and after that, the sticks of serai (lemon grass) from my garden, bruised at the ends, went in plus the beef, mixing everything together well before I covered the wok to let the meat cook until all the juices had come out, adding a bit of water periodically when it got a little too dry. Two pieces of turmeric (kunyit) leaf, it said in the recipe. That sure is mind-boggling. Do I use the big ones…or the medium or the small? In the end, I picked two medium-sized leaves from what I had growing in the garden (they never get to be all that big, anyway) and sliced them thinly before throwing them into the wok. I did add a sprig of curry leaves as well as I did not have any kafir lime leaves (daun limau purut).

After letting it simmer for a while, I tried a bit of the gravy and boy, it sure was very nice!!! Of course, it had to be nice considering all those ingredients that went into it. However, that was not the end! There were still some ingredients that had not gone in yet. I added a bit of santan (coconut milk), just around half a cup…and the colour changed – I think it looked very much nicer without the santan. I tasted the gravy again and yes, it was nice, just not salty and though I would be fine with it like that, I added a pinch.

The recipe said I had to add asam jawa (tamarind paste) – no, even though I did have some in the fridge, I did not bother…and some gula Melaka (palm sugar). I added some and tasted again – no, I did not think that made it nicer. I sure would leave it out should I be cooking this again. I let it simmer a while longer to get the meat to be more tender before I dished everything out…

Beef rendang 1

…and served.

Now, don’t you think that looked absolutely gorgeous?

Beef rendang 2

Well, it tasted really good too…

Beef rendang 3

…and my girl who is not really into any curry and the like using those instant pastes – she says the taste does not go into the meat – loved it!

I still have another packet of the powder left so I will have to do this again…one more time. Maybe I’ll try chicken next time.

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

19 thoughts on “Just a passing glance…”

  1. It sure looks absolutely gorgeous! I believe it tastes much, much, much better than the beef rendang I ate at Popo Cantin. You are so diligent to put in so much effort to cook this with so much ingredients and preparation. Salute!

    Nothing to it, very easy actually. I will be doing it again, that’s for sure…not that I have much of a choice – I still have a packet of the rendang powder. Hehehehehe!!!

  2. heyhey lovely done! you could put it in a restaurant menu! feel like getting one of those stones for pounding the ingredients together.

    Thank you, thank you. Blush! Blush! Very handy and the die-hards will tell you that anything pounded will taste a lot nicer than using a blender.

    You need to season it for a while first though, pound used/squeezed grated coconut as initially, it will be grainy/sandy. Watch out also for those decorative ones, lots in Indonesia. Merely for decoration or serving sauces and dips. Will crack when you pound anything in those.

  3. My brand of curry powder too.

    Oh well, you made a mistake but you did try out the cooking. Lovely beef. It looks creamy.

    Yes, so delighted that it turned out well. Will certainly cook this way again, bye bye instant pastes – getting rather bored of those as missus cooks those so often, easy.

    My mum never used any other brand after she came across this and all of us loved it!

  4. It was printed clearly on the front “rendang powder”, how come you thought it was paste, hihihi…lau hua liao. I never try using this powder form but I have try Liza brand rendang paste once & it taste quite alright but I still prefer masak hitam. You take all the trouble to pound & add those extra ingredients, surely there is more kick to the taste. That plate of beef rendang looks absolutely appetising. Gravy good enough to go with your rice. Yummmssss!!!!!

    Not lau hua, just did not look properly – and saw rendang in front, kerisik at the back…and that was it! Men like that mah!!! Not like women. I saw somebody buying brinjal – she looked like she needed a magnifying glass to inspect the vegetable, studied so closely. We men would just take, weigh and pay…and we’re on our way. πŸ˜‰

    I’ve used Lisa’s masak hitam, very nice. Never tried the rendang. I hear the Sarawak laksa is very good too.

    1. I strongly agree with you about woman on this point…..using magnifying glass to inspect the vegetable. I, for one, hahaha!!!!…to choose carefully mah. 😝😝😝😝

      ROTFL!!! I go marketing, back in half an hour, my missus two hours still not home yet. Hehehehehe!!!! Sometimes I get worried, have to call to see all is ok.

  5. Now now, isn’t that nice to put your sweat into it. If there is such a thing as RM1 and all done for me, I will purchase them in bulks!

    Yes, try chicken next time. Just don’t chicken out πŸ˜›

    Muahahahaha!!! You’ve got a point there. Those instant pastes don’t come cheap, worse if they’re from Singapore. *faints* But I thought it was because it was such a small packet mah. πŸ˜‰

    Yes, will cook chicken next. No fresh beef here…and our imported ones must be dinosaur meat, so tough, like leather.

  6. When you first show the rendang beef in your Facebook, you had make me mouth watering already.

    πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Thank you so much for the beef. Have not had such nice beef for a long time, so fresh. Even the ones at my favourite beef noodle place here is not so nice – they slice so thinly so it can be chewed but if I try chewing two or three slices at one go, I can feel how tough the meat actually is – the problem with our imported beef, mainly NZ these days – maybe because of the currency, I guess.

  7. Oh Beef! I had a really good beef rendang at one of the hainan restaurants in town too! it was Saturday πŸ˜€

    Rendang? At a Hainan place? Ah well!!! I had great rendang at a cafe here too – Chinese owned and run. For one thing, it wasn’t oily like some that we have here at the Malay stalls. They seem to use a lot!

  8. You bought the paste (I saw the word powder), and yet, still need to pound so many stuffs ahh? But worth it, coz it looks so so delicious.. If me, I make sure I buy paste, and just chuck everything inside and simmer with the meat…

    We’re getting tired of the pastes as my missus cooks using those all the time. Of course, cooking from scratch is a whole lot better but it is very much easier using the pastes. Now that I got to cook it myself (in the past, my missus did all the cooking – curry from scratch) and it is not hard at all, I certainly would not be using those pastes anymore. My girl has grown sick of those – would not bother to tapao to her jungle school to enjoy – plus those pastes, sure got lots of preservatives one and I find some rather oily too.

  9. ahhh.. This brand is common over here… but I have not used it before, my friend recommended to me the Tian brand and since then, I have been using that only… Glad that your girl likes it… I don’t like too spicy either.. burn my tongue and the rest of the taste buds too.. hahaha…

    Tean, you mean? I’ve tried their bak kut teh, among the best. Not sure if I have seen any for curry, this brand. We use A1 Mountain Globe for curry (not just anyone with A1 on the pack, not the same, not nice) – meat or fish, our favourite but having been eating that all these years, plus my missus cooks quite often since it is so easy, we have grown quite tired of it.

  10. Well done! I can only cook from pastes – don’t have the patience to look for all the ingredients separately!

    I guess it is more convenient and not so easy to get some there, fresh…or they’re not quite the same – I saw my SIL in Auckland buying spring onions, so huge – not the same as ours here!!! Then she used only the bulb, threw away all the leaves. I thought what a waste that was. I took and cut thinly and used to toss some noodles, kampua style. The son loved it, asked for seconds. The shallots there were big too, and not so red – more like our Bombay onions but smaller.

    Same thing here when we want to use those western herbs – we only have the dry ones in bottles. 😦

  11. heheh, initially i thought to myself, this is why arthur needs to read the back labels properly before buying things. but the result looks so tasty, it was worth it in the end! i like your plating and photography for your dish too, very, very nice πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your compliments. You’re very kind. It did not help one bit that everything was in fine print – no, I do not need spectacles to read, despite my age, but reading that would require quite an effort. 😦

  12. That’s quite a bit of pounding you did. Usually I will blend it because I am too lazy LOL! But pounding is better as the aroma and flavors released is more intense. I can see that it was worth your effort because your beef rendang turned out really well.

    I thought it was easy and fast, pounded altogether – I think when I pounded for my mum, everything was separate – chili…shallots…garlic…ginger, etc etc etc. Maybe she had a reason for that and that was why her curry was a cut above the rest? When I pounded this time, it was like in the blender – everything in at one go. I’m glad the rendang turned out good – looking forward to cooking the remaining packet of the powder.

  13. I like that you take the effort to pound the chilies. I think I am bit lazy at that part so I just buy the ready premix curry. No need to add anything except the coconut mik if I want to cook curry chicken.

    Evaporated milk is good too, the curry will not spoil so easily. Instant is nice too, can add a bit of chopped onions, serai…will make it better – convenient for people who are busy, can get to enjoy something very nice too, nicer than a lot outside actually. Of course, can’t beat cooking from scratch – can reserve this for special occasions, at least something more special than the usual.

    1. **oopos Milk i meant. No cook beef at home but just curry chicken last night. hehehe

      We usually cook chicken too, beef here – imported from NZ, so hard, so tough, not as nice as fresh beef…and it does not come cheap, not at all. 😦

  14. wow, it looks delicious, and I can imagine how yummy it will be in my mouth.
    You’re such a good cook, got to learn how to cook one of these days.

    You’ve got the finest teacher, your mum – authentic nyonya, sure best one!

  15. wow so yummy, I keep looking at it over and over again

    I would say that it came out really great in the photos. Hehehehehe!!!!

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