this dish has been a long time coming. the starting point was an amazing beef rendang that i learnt to make at an eat drink talk malaysian cookery class with jennifer klinec (who has sadly hung up her teaching apron but her recipe and newsletter archive is still online) back in february.
i’ve had rendang before, and have even cooked and blogged it but nothing prepared me for the dish that i ate at the class - the complexity of flavours was amazing as was the richness of the dish. this was authentic malaysian cooking and blew my previous attempts out of the water. a selection of spices were toasted and ground before being used plus the use of fresh coconut milk were both factors in making this so delicious, as was the method which involves simmering away all the liquid of the coconut milk until the dish is left with a light coating of coconut oil which is used to give everything final frying to enrich and deepen all the flavours. needless to say, it’s very rich and filling.
at the class i chatted to jennifer about variations and we decided that while lamb would be good, an oxtail variation would be a better and more interesting way to revisit this dish. the only downside with using oxtail was that i had to add in an extra stage to making this dish – i cooked the meat on the bone which i then removed for the final stages. i also soaked up some of the extra fat released using a paper towel.
taking the meat off the bone made it very easy to eat and added to the experience as the meltingly tender pieces of oxtail were completely integrated with the rich spicy coconutty sauce of the rendang. we scooped it up with homemade roti (another jennifer special) and a crunchy salad of carrot, red onions (soaked in lime juice – which is discarded - to remove their potency), coriander and lime provided some much-needed freshness to the meal.
sadly i promised the leftovers to a friend, so was unable to indulge two days in a row. i now need to try the lamb version.