There’s nothing I enjoy more (when I have the time and available ingredients!) than patiently putting together a curry and everything that goes with it – that means making a curry paste (like this Rendang curry paste), making the curry, cooking some rice and making some sort of authentic bread to dip into that delicious sauce. Serve up with a couple of cold beers and what more could you ask for?! This here is the first step of that process, and I have to say it’s pretty satisfying to toast and blitz up spices, and it fills your kitchen with the most magnificent aroma.
One problem I frequently encounter, however, is that many curry recipes seem to require the same ingredients every time (save the odd pinch of fenugreek or turmeric), meaning they are barely discernible from one another. Rendang is a bit different, and not only because it traditionally includes some slow-cooked beef, but because it is a Malaysian invention rather than an Indian one. No tinned tomatoes here! Get the best balance of sweet and spicy for your own taste buds and this can help you towards a deliciously different curry feast. Full Beef Rendang recipe coming soon, but in the meantime you can prepare your paste ahead (it keeps for around 2 weeks in a sealed container) or mix it up with some yoghurt for a nice marinade for some baked chicken.
- 30g desiccated coconut
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 onion
- 1 red chilli, de-seeded
- 4 cloves garlic
- a piece of fresh ginger, about the size of 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- water, to loosen
- a mini chopper is also pretty much essential!
- Set a small frying pan over a medium heat and add the coconut.
- Leave it over the heat for a few minutes, occasionally stirring, until just toasted on both sides. Be very careful: it can turn from white to burnt in a matter of minutes so keep an eye on it!
- Once the coconut is nicely toasted, pour it into the mini chopper. Repeat with the coriander and cumin seeds. You'll know they're ready when they start to pop and leak out a little oil. Again, be careful not to burn them, and pour into the mini chopper when they're done. That's the pan's role fulfilled so it can be taken off the heat.
- Roughly chop the onion, garlic, deseeded chilli and ginger and add these to the chopper.
- Then add the turmeric and oil and a little water. Blitz up into a fine paste. This may require the addition of a little water and a few mixes with a tablespoon to help the chopper along with blitzing all those ingredients into a paste. That is the most tedious, fiddly part of the whole recipe though - it really is so easy!
- Store in a little jar or sealable container in the fridge. Around 1/3 to 1/2 of the paste should be enough to make one curry for two, depending on how spicy you like your curry. Be sure to come back for the full curry recipe!