11.10.2011

Rendang Curry Beef Stew

Rendang Curry Beef Stew
It's really starting to feel like autumn, or perhaps even winter, now in Southern California. For us in SoCal, this means that temps are in the 50s to 60s with occasional bouts of rain. Like most of you, chilly weather makes me want to indulge in soul-soothing comfort food.

As luck would have it, I was sent two jars of sauce by WORLDFOODS to review: a curry sauce and a stir-fry sauce. WORLDFOODS makes ready-to-use Asian sauces, dips, marinades, dressings, and more, with natural ingredients and no preservatives. And they are planning to expand their offerings to include the flavors of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, France, Germany and Italy! Mr. DG appreciates that they are gluten free, as well. I was impressed by the lack of artificial ingredients and flavorings in their products, and I was excited to try their products.

WORLDFOODS Malaysian Rendang Curry Cooking Sauce; Angus chuck roast, carrots and onions
I decided to use the Malaysian Rendang Curry Cooking Sauce to make a beef stew in my sadly neglected Fagor Rapida pressure cooker. I really should use my pressure cooker more often! Such a great timesaver for making soups, stocks, stews, braises and more. It's also great for steaming veggies or even seafood! Combine this with a ready-made sauce, and you have a great option for time-saving weeknight meals.

Before and after browning beef in pressure cooker with onions
This recipe is very flexible, and if you don't have a pressure cooker, you can make the stew in a Dutch oven. You would just need to simmer the beef for a longer amount of time until it was tender.

My pressure cooker goes right on the stovetop, and I can brown ingredients first, all in the same pot. I used an Angus chuck roast from Mitsuwa Marketplace. I was looking for boneless short ribs, as recommended in a recipe for Beef Rendang from RasaMalaysia, but no such luck. I sliced the chuck into large chunks. I diced a large onion, crushed 5 to 6 cloves of garlic and cut two carrots and one russet potato into similarly sized pieces.

Lightly brown the carrots and potatoes until par-cooked.
I browned the beef, onions and garlic in some oil, then removed them to a bowl. I browned the potatoes and carrots next until they were par-cooked. You can tell the potatoes are partially cooked if the center is opaque and the outer edges are translucent. I removed these from the pressure cooker and set them aside.

Add in 6 big spoonfuls of the Rendang curry sauce and about 1/4th can of coconut milk
After returning the beef/onion mixture to the cooker, I added six tablespoons of the curry sauce and approximately 1/4th can of coconut milk. Be sure you shake the can before opening. I forgot this important step, and the milk dribbled out in clumps. Stir through to combine.

Add enough liquid to just cover the beef.

I added some water (about 2/3rds cup) to bring the liquid level high enough to just cover the beef. After that, I put on the lid and brought it up to pressure over high heat. A little yellow button pops up on my Fagor when pressure is reached, and it is from this point that you start timing the cooking process. Turn the heat down low enough to maintain a steady stream of steam from the cooker. I suggest cooking the beef for 35 minutes, or until the meat is really tender.

Tender chunks of beef with carrots and potatoes in a Rendang curry sauce.
Release the pressure on the beef, then add in the potatoes and carrots and cook until your desired tenderness. I overdid it with the cooking, having added the vegetables to cook with the beef under pressure, and it turned them too soft. The potato starch did add thickness to the sauce, so if you like a thicker texture, then add the potatoes at the last 10-15 minutes of pressure cooking. The photo above shows how I would have *liked* the stew to turn out, with still solid chunks of potato, but as I stirred the sauce, many of the potatoes disintegrated. At this point, you'll want to season to taste. I used some Maggi sauce, soy sauce and kosher salt. I added some more curry sauce and coconut milk as well.

I've never had rendang before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I do know that it's usually cooked for hours until the liquid is almost completely gone, but since I was in the mood for comfort food, I wanted it more saucy to mix with the rice. The flavor was subtle and slightly sweet—perhaps from the tamarind?—and was a bit milder than I expected. To add some zestiness, I squeezed fresh lime juice over the curry, which I served over rice. The lime juice gave it a lift with the acidity.

I do think the ready-made sauce is a great alternative to making the sauce from scratch for those times when you want to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible. There are many spices and unique ingredients that go into Asian dishes that it can be daunting to attempt even when you have lots of time to cook. What is also appealing about WORLDFOODS products is that there are no strange ingredients or chemicals such as the kind you might find in lower-quality ready-made sauces.

Please feel free to leave me your suggestions and comments if you've made rendang before or used WORLDFOODS products. I look forward to hearing from you!

RENDANG CURRY BEEF STEW
Serves 4 -6

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs Angus chuck roast, cut into 1” cubes
5-6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, cut into medium chunks
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into medium chunks
½ jar WORLDFOODS Malaysian Rendang Curry Cooking Sauce
¼ - ½ can coconut milk
Worcestershire sauce
Maggi sauce
Soy sauce
Kosher salt to taste
Canola oil
Water

Optional: lime wedges

Directions:
  1. Heat approximately 2 tablespoons of canola oil in pressure cooker over medium-high heat.
  2. Brown beef, then add onions and sauté until softened.
  3. Add garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.
  4. Remove beef/onion/garlic mixture to separate bowl. Retain any juices with mixture.
  5. In pressure cooker, heat another 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil.
  6. Add potatoes and carrots and sauté until parcooked.
  7. Remove potatoes and carrots to another bowl.
  8. Return beef/onion/garlic mixture to pressure cooker, along with any accumulated liquid.
  9. Add 6 tablespoons of curry sauce, about ¼ can of coconut milk and mix through. (Add as much or as little as you like of the coconut milk).
  10. Make sure there is enough liquid to just cover the beef. If not enough, add water.
  11. Bring to a simmer, then put on pressure cooker lid and lock.
  12. Turn heat to high to bring contents up to pressure. When pressure is reached, turn heat to medium-low and start timing from this point.
  13. Cook beef for approximately 35 minutes.
  14. Carefully release steam from pressure cooker and check tenderness of beef.
  15. If beef is tender, add potatoes and carrots and combine.
  16. Add more curry sauce and coconut milk, if desired.
  17. Simmer without lid until vegetables are al dente, or to your liking. Or you could place the pressure cooker lid back on, bring it up to pressure over high heat, then cook for 3 minutes. Cook longer if you want your potatoes to soften and thicken the stew.
  18. Season to taste with Worcestershire sauce, Maggi sauce, salt and pepper.
  19. Serve over white rice with lime wedges.

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