Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!
There is a dish that will never absence from the celebrations of Hari Raya, no matter whose house you go, you will never miss this dish.
Yup, it’s Rendang!
In fact, it’s not just for Hari Raya. In Malay society, whenever there is a gathering, the serving of Rendang is a must.
Why do we love Rendang so much?
Rendang is originated from Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia, the term ‘rendang’ does not refer to a certain type of dish. ‘Rendang’ is actually a verb, refers to a method of slow cooking: continuously churning the ingredients in a pot or frying pan, on a small fire, until all of the liquids evaporate and the meat is well done. Traditional rendang takes hours to cook.
Moreover, rendang is rich in spices. Rendang uses a large amount of fresh coconut milk and a paste of mixed ground spices known as ‘pemasak’. The spice mixture includes ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chilis and other spices. Among these spices, garlic, shallots, ginger, and galangal have antimicrobial properties and serve as natural organic preservatives. Therefore, dry rendang can last for weeks if cooked properly.
The cooking of rendang is very time-consuming and requires a lot of patience. It involves pounding and grinding of the spices as well as the slow cooking. Unlike curry, there is no sauteeing of the spices in oil first, but the meat is directly boiled in the coconut milk altogether with the spices and herbs. The meat pieces are slowly cooked in the coconut milk and spices until all the liquid is evaporated, allowing the meat to fully absorb the flavors of the condiments. To ensure the meat to be tender and not to be burnt with almost all the liquid evaporated, it requires great care from the cook.
Although the preparation and cooking process of rendang is tiring, the properly cooked rendang is very mouthwatering with its complex and unique taste.
Rendang is usually served with steamed rice, ketupat (a compressed rice cake) or lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo tubes), but there is no limitation on the ways to serve rendang. There are a lot of fusion rendang dishes such as spaghetti rendang, rendang burger, rendang roll in Japanese-Indonesian fusion cuisine and etc. Traditional rendang is cooked mostly with beef or sometimes mutton. However, a lot of people cook rendang with other ingredients such as chicken, duck, vegetables or even tofu.
Wanted to cook a nice rendang for your family? Here’s a tutorial video for Chicken Rendang. You can find the full recipe at Huang Kitchen.
There are a lot of other rendang recipes online. You can always adjust the amount of each spice based on your own preferences.
Wish you would enjoy this raya with delicious food and happy moments with you family.
Once again, Selamat Hari Raya!
PS/ Do you have any special way to cook or eat Rendang? If you do, please share with us!