The best cut for this magnificent dish is oyster blade or stewing steak. Fresh spices are the cornerstone of all great Indonesian and Malaysian cooking an authentic rendang must be dry because the sauce is heavily reduced until it eventually "fries" the meat.
2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped
3cm ginger, about 30g, peeled and chopped
4-5 thin slices fresh galangal, about 20g, finely chopped
6-10 large red chillies, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium onion or 6 shallots, finely chopped
5 tbsp desiccated coconut
4 tbsp oil
700g oyster blade, cut into 5cm cubes
500ml coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
In a food processor, blend lemongrass, ginger and galangal to a fine paste. Add chopped chillies, garlic and onion. Process again until you have a coarse paste.
Dry-fry coconut in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about three to five minutes, until golden. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Fry the blended mixture until aromatic, about five to six minutes. Add the beef and stir-fry until beef browns.
Add toasted coconut and fry for another minute. Add coconut milk, water and sugar. Bring to the boil and stir frequently to prevent coconut milk from splitting. Reduce heat to low and leave to bubble gently, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender (two to 2.5 hours) and coconut liquid turns to oil. Remove beef.
Cook sauce, stirring continuously (be careful as hot oil will spit) until almost dry, about five to 10 minutes. Return beef to saucepan, stir gently, season to taste and serve.