Gallery: Snapshots from Malaysia: How to Make Beef Rendang

Prepare the dried chilis
Prepare the dried chilis

Snip the dried chilis into segments, on the diagonal so that the seeds fall out. In a small bowl, put the elements you intend to use: all of the pods, which impart the chili flavor, but not all of the seeds, the source of the heat.

Hydrating
Hydrating

Pour over hot water to allow the chilis to hydrate. (Don't let this steam get in your eyes; I speak from experience.)

Chop it up
Chop it up

Chop the lemongrass (shown here), turmeric, and other ingredients that will form the spice paste. (Don't worry too much about chopping small or neatly, as this will all get tossed in the blender.)

Blend it
Blend it

Blend up the spice paste ingredients, with a bit of water to lubricate the process...

The paste
The paste

Until you get a blended, but not totally smooth paste.

Beef time
Beef time

Any lean cut of stewing beef will do. Chop it into manageable chunks a little bigger than bite-sized and about half an inch thick.

Onto the heat
Onto the heat

The spice paste, beef, and coconut milk go into a wok; that's when you crank the heat. As the coconut milk heats, its oils will separate out, and the spice paste will essentially fry in those oils.

Watch it cook down
Watch it cook down

Cook over high heat until the curry starts to reduce and darken, like so.

To serve
To serve

Banana leaves and finely chopped kaffir lime rind go a long way toward prettifying a somewhat homely dish!

The setup
The setup

Beef rendang starts with a blended spice paste of fresh and dried chilis; turmeric, galangal, garlic, and ginger; and lemongrass and shallots.

Toast the coconut
Toast the coconut

Slowly heat grated coconut in a wok, stirring often...

Toasted!
Toasted!

Until it's a deep, even brown.