Lamb Rendang

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Lamb Rendang is a spicy meat curry dish, and a classic example of authentic and traditional Indonesian cuisine. A national favorite dish, Lamb Rendang is immensely popular all around the world. Try some, you will see why!

Lamb Rendang

(Photo Attributed to Author: Stu Spivack)

A rendang can be made with other meats, goat, beef, or chicken will work fine with this recipe. But this lamb rendang is my personal favorite, and lamb is the most popular meat of choice in Indonesian cuisine, too.

Lamb Rendang Recipe-

For the Spice Paste-
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 dried Asian red chilis, rehydrated in warm water (Note: remove seeds for less hot and spicy rendang. For extra hot and spicy, leave seeds in)
  • 5 fresh Thai red chili peppers (Note: treat seeds as per above instructions)
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass (white parts only), lightly smashed
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and rough chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1/2″ piece fresh ginger root, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1-1/2″ piece fresh galangal root, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 oz. candle nuts, lightly smashed
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar

You will need:

  • Either a slow cooker (crockpot) or-
  • for an even more traditional experience and authentic results, a Moroccan tagine.
  • a wok, or large, wide bottomed heavy duty skillet
  1. If using a crock pot, turn the setting to high. If using a tagine, pre-heat it over medium flame.
  2. Blend all of the Spice Paste ingredients together in a food processor until smooth and fine. Scoop the mixture out, and set aside for now.
  3. Season the lamb cubes with a little salt and set aside for now.
  4. In a wok, heat the oil over medium flame, and stir-fry the curry and kaffir lime leaves until fragrant.
  5. Turn heat up to medium-high, add in the blended and smoothed Spice Paste, then stir-fry for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant and the color changes.
  6. Put the seasoned lamb cubes into the wok, stir well, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, until the meat is nicely browned on the outside.
  7. Now pour the coconut milk and toasted coconut into the wok and bring everything to a quick boil. Turn off the heat and move all of the ingredients into your crock pot and braise for 1-1/2 hours. If you are using a traditional tagine, have it heated over medium high flame, and braise the mixture in it for the same length of time.
  8. After 1-1/3 hours, remove pot or tagine cover, stir, and check to make sure the lamb is tender enough to your liking and the dish is not too dry. If you are using a tagine, this will be unlikely, as the tagine’s unique evaporation and condensation method of steam cooking keeps the dish’s liquids very well. If using a crockpot, you may want to add some water and cook a bit longer. When satisfied, turn off heat and allow the dish to sit for up to 1 hour longer. The liquid will slowly evaporate, creating a saucy texture. You want a texture that is thickened and just slightly dry.
  9. Your Lamb Rendang is ready to dish out now. Serve with steamed white rice or coconut rice. Note: Rendang tastes even better when served the following day. If possible, save some, store some overnight in refrigerator, and serve it again the next day.

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