Rendang is a dish which originated from Indonesia but is also served in Malaysia and Singapore. It is a dish that is usually served during festivities or special occasions.
Rendang is made from beef slowly cooked in coconut milk, spices and sometimes kerisik (toasted coconut paste) for several hours until almost all the liquid is gone, allowing the meat to absorb the spicy condiments. The cooking process changes from boiling to frying as the liquid evaporates. The slow cooking process allows the meat to absorb all the spices and to become tender. The spices may include ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves and chillies.
My first taste of Rendang was years ago. My husband (we were still dating) would share Rendang from his hometown with me. I loved it. Everytime he would go home, I would ask him to bring back to Davao some Rendang. But this does not happen often as Rendang is cooked only during special occasions.
Last year, I had a terrible Rendang craving. I researched for hours where I could find a restaurant serving Rendang. I found out that while there is a restaurant in Davao called A Taste of Malaysia, they don't serve this dish. There are only two options, Penang Hill in Greenhills and Wild Ginger in Powerplant. During an official trip to Manila, I squeezed in a shopping spree in Greenhills with a planned dinner at Penang Hill. Unfortunately, Penang Hill closed its operations the day before. Talk about Malas! It was too late to go to Powerplant.
Early this year, I had the chance to eat at the Mequeni Restaurant at the Holiday Inn at Clarkfield, Pampanga. I was so happy that their international buffet featured Malaysian cuisine and of course, Beef Rendang. My tastebuds were satiated.
I decided that I should learn how to cook Rendang. There are of course many recipes available in the internet. But I could only find one Maranao version in a blog called Maranao Recipe. I found the recipe last summer but could not cook it because of the non-availability of the main spice called Palapa.
Last week, my mother-in-law arrived from Marawi and brought back some palapa. I immediately bought beef cubes and a stainless steel pressure cooker.
I must admit, my first attempt at Beef Rendang is not entirely successful. It was too saucy. I must have put too much water when stewing the beef. But the smell and the taste were quite familiar and delicious. Masarap sya. Even the husband agreed.