Indonesian cuisine was introduced to me very early in the days in the Netherlands, it has become part of our culture. A lot of my friends came from different countries all over the world and I loved having such a broad group of different cultures around me. There is so much to learn from the people around you and their families. Let me rephrase that; especially their families!
Growing up as a teenager, I always visited my friends during lunch or dinnertime (if they were not at our place eating that is!) I was always intrigued by what was happening in their kitchens. Most of the times I was learning from their parents how to make certain traditional foods they were eating. This Rendang recipe was inspired by the Beef Rendang dish one of them used to make. I say inspired, because this recipe is without the actual beef. We always try to limit our intake of meat and still wanted to have that delicious rich coconut taste from the sauce, so here it is!
Vegan Indonesian Rendang Sauce
- 3 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 5 cm of ginger
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 3 fresh chili peppers
- 1/3 cup of shredded coconut
- 1.5 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp of 5-spices powder
- 400 ml coconut milk (1 can)
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp of salt
We start with our preparations: Grab a small pan and add the shredded coconut. We need the aroma and flavour to come out first, so put the pan over medium heat and stir a bit (without any oil) until the coconut starts to look light brown. You will notice the delicious smell coming from it. Put the coconut aside for later use.
Grab a small bowl, add the tamarind paste and 1/3 cup of very hot water. Let the tamarind paste soften up and mix a bit with the water. Set aside for later use.
Peel and chop the onion very finely, peel and cut/mash the ginger into almost paste, crush the garlic and chop up the chili peppers. Put everything together in a blender or mortar and add a little vegetable stock to blend it properly into a curry paste.
Grab a medium frying pan and start heating the vegetable oil over high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, turn to medium heat and add the curry paste and 5-spices powder. Stirfry for about 5-6 minutes to release all the aromas and flavours from the mixture.
Add the coconut milk and the soaked tamarind paste, mix everything until well combined and bring to a simmer. Once the mixture is simmering, turn to the lowest heat possible (not completely off of course!) and let it slowly go on for about 10 minutes. We do this to combine all the pastes without later on shifting and seperating.
Add the shredded browned coconut, brown sugar and salt and stir until you get a nice combined sauce.
Cover the pan with a lid and let your sauce reduce a little, so you end up having a nice saucy texture!