Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Pressure Cooker Beef Rendang

I first fell in love with Beef Rendang in a very small and obscure restaurant in Darlinghurst aptly named "Denpasar" during the 1990's.
It was Saturday night and I met a dear friend for a meal at this Indonesian Restaurant of which we had heard good reports.   We ordered Chicken Kapitan and Beef Rendang with Indonesian fried rice and were simply bowled over by the bold and rich flavours.   We enjoyed our meal so much we even ordered banana fritters for dessert.

When we had finished dessert we were the only diners in the restaurant and the owners were itching to lock up and leave for the night.   We had only drank once glass each from the bottle of white wine and asked the owners for two plastic glasses to take away so we could continue our discussion.  They kindly obliged, happy by that time to see us leave.  We walked only a few hundred metres to Hyde Park, on the corner of William and College Streets, Darlinghurst and sat on the steps diagonally opposite from the Australian Museum.

As my friend lived in Leichhardt and I lived in Waverley we were going in opposite directions so we planned to continue our evening and catch the last trains home.

We poured ourselves a "glass" of wine and settled in for a good chat on a warm summer's night.  About 15 minutes later two policemen approached us on horses and told us we had to move on as it wasn't safe to be out at night in Hyde Park.  We were shocked as we had always felt safe in the city and used to meet to party from time to time ... anyway, they insisted that we had to leave and the horseback policemen subtly followed us to the corner of George and William streets to see that we were indeed going to Town Hall train station.

This was such a memorable night for two reasons; my discovery of Indonesian food and the thrill of being asked to move on by two thoughtful and caring policemen.

I still love Beef Rendang and have tweeked this recipe many times over the years and now I cook it suitably in the pressure cooker to save time but still retain that unique flavour of slow cooked beef.

My latest favourite version comes from Not Quite Nigella whose mother is also a superb cook and this is a wonderful recipe for authentic Beef Rendang.


Pressure Cooker Beef Rendang

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut, toasted in a dry pan (keep 2 tablespoons for the spice paste)
  • 1 kilo chuck or gravy beef, cut into 2cm or 1 inch cubes
For the Spice Paste:
  • 2 onions 

  • 1 large cayenne pepper (chilli)
  • 1 inch ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 8 dried chillies
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut (from above)
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
For the curry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 2½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, spine removed and finely sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons lemongrass, either bottled or freshly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 400 ml can coconut milk or cream
  • 1/2 cup water

  1. Mix together the salt, sugar, tamarind paste and toasted coconut in a large bowl. Add the beef and mix well.  Set aside.
  2. Put all of the spice paste ingredients in a food processor and blend until you get a smooth paste, adding a little more oil if necessary.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pressure cooker over medium heat and fry the spice paste for a few minutes until fragrant, stirring continuously.  Increase the heat to slightly and add the meat with all of the marinade ingredients.  Stir for about 5 minutes until the meat is browned, add a little water if it starts to stick. 
  4. Add the rest of the curry sauce ingredients and stir for a few minutes.
  5. Place your pressure cooker lid on and bring to steaming (whistling) point, then immediately reduce heat to low and place your timer on for 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes turn off the heat and using quick release, or placing in a sink and pouring cold water over top, release all of the steam and unlock the lid.
  7. Check consistency and seasoning.  I find this is the perfect cooking time for a fantastic result.  If yours is still a little watery you may need to cook it uncovered stirring for a few more minutes.


Am I the only one who likes to get "slow cooking" results from pressure cooking?
In these busy days sometimes it is the only way to eat dinner on time.

Buon appetito, enjoy Merryn xx