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Beef Rendang and the Case of the Invisible Sauce

Don’t think of this amazing Indonesian beef curry as not
having a sauce, think of it as not needing a sauce. By the way, it has a sauce
– you just can’t see it. Flavorless water evaporates when you reduce a pan
sauce, like we’re doing here, but fat doesn’t, nor does flavor, which is what
makes this such a unique, and deliciously addictive dish.

Originally the recipe was developed as a way to preserve meat
in hot and humid Indonesia, which is why it was cooked until dry. The lack of
moisture, along with all these naturally antimicrobial ingredients meant you
could keep this around for weeks without it spoiling, and apparently people
enjoyed the taste and texture so much, they continued making it this way long
after refrigeration was available.

Having said that, if you do want some sauce to serve with
it, simply add more water during the cooking, or cover for part of the time,
and you’ll be all set. Which reminds me, if you do cook this the day before, as
recommended, you’ll want to add a big splash the water to the pan when you
reheat it. Add some water, cover it, and when you think it’s heated through,
uncover, crank the heat, and cook until it reaches your desired degree of

The ingredient list below does contain a few semi-exotic
items, so I’ve added what to substitute with in parentheses, but all in all
most of these things should not be that hard to find, especially online. But
whether you make a few substitutions or not, I really do hope you give this intensely
flavorful, and invisibly-sauced beef rendang a try soon. Enjoy!

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Ingredients for 4 large portions Beef Rendang:

4 shallots, sliced (or red onion)

6 garlic cloves

1.5 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, sliced

1/.5 inch piece galangal (or ginger)

Fresno red chile pepper

2 Serrano chilies pepper

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 or 2 tablespoons red chili flakes, depending on desired

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 2-inch pieces

1/2 stalk lemongrass, lighter part, bruised with back  of knife

1 can coconut milk

1 generous tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons tamarind paste (or zest from a lime and lemon,
plus juice from 1 lime)

steamed rice for service, garnished with cilantro and lime
if desired


Green smoothie

White chocolate cake spoons

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  • Makes: 12

  • Prep time: 30 mins

  • Total time: 30 mins

    plus chilling time

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Cheap as chips

These white chocolate cake spoons are great fun for kid’s parties. They can be decorated with sprinkles, edible glitter, chocolate or marshmallows. They can be coordinated to any colour and or theme you are planning. So simple to make, you could the kids involved in the decorating too. Watch them disappear in minutes.


  • 300g sponge cake, shop bought or home made
  • 150g white chocolate melted

To decorate:

  • 300g melted chocolate or candy melts of your choice
  • 12 disposable spoons
  • Sprinkles or grated chocolate

That’s goodtoknow

Make the balls smaller for bite size treats.


  1. You will need a baking sheet covered in baking parchment. Cut you cake into squares and blitz in the food processor to make into crumbs. Pour into a mixing bowl and pour over the melted chocolate
  2. Mix together. Divide the mixture into 12 and form into balls
  3. Place on a baking sheet to chill for at least 30 minutes
  4. When cold and set, place ½tspn of chocolate on each soon. Dip each ball into the melted chocolate or candy melts, place on a spoon and cover with sprinkles or grated chocolate. Place onto the baking sheet and leave to set hard before serving

By Bronya Seifert

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