If there is one Peranakan dish I could eat over and over again, it would have to be Rendang. My recipe for Lamb Rendang is a little different from its traditional version for it has a lot more sauce compared to its Indonesian counterpart. Originally, the dish was prepared in the tropical regions of Indonesia and Malaysia by marinating beef with plenty of herbs and spices, then simmering it in coconut milk until dry and very tender. Spices like garlic, shallots, ginger, and galangal were added to impart flavor and acted as natural organic preservatives, making the final dish last for weeks without refrigeration.
Over the years, I have tried and tested many family recipes from both Malaysia and Indonesia, but this Peranakan version is by far my favorite. The recipe might be slightly labor intensive but the result is well worth it - tender meat covered in a luxuriously, thick sauce that goes perfectly well with steamed Jasmine rice, or lapped up with crusty baguette.
I have used lamb here as I love the gaminess that it imparts to this flavor-rich curry, but beef would work equally well too. You can either slow-cook your meat in a saucepan for up to 2 hours, until very tender, or simply pressure- cook it for 20-25 minutes. Pressure-cooking requires less water though, so do remember to add some water to your saucepan if your curry starts to dry out during the slow-cooking process.
The best part about this dish is that all ingredients required to make this beautiful stew are easily available in wet markets and supermarkets all over Singapore. I often make more and leave some for the next day as like any curry, this dish tastes even better the next day. Enjoy the recipe, and as always leave any questions you may have in comments.
Lamb Rendag Recipe Video
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Payal Thakurani is a cooking instructor, consulting chef, and author of the popular Southeast Asian cookbook “Curries for the Soul”. Originally based in Shanghai China, chef Payal has been in the food industry since 2012, working in training and brand development in central kitchens. She was also the proud owner of a cooking school and several food brands in Shanghai. She now lives in Singapore and heads Commune Kitchen in Downtown Gallery, where she hosts affordable, hands-on cooking classes for all ages.