I’d like to be a totally trusting sort of guy. I wish, when you promise to be here at 7:30, I could believe you, even if the last time you showed up at 8:15. I wish I could believe the Nigerian prince who emails me offering me 40% of his family fortune. Sadly, life has made me a little wary. I don’t take much on faith. This Goat Rendang is a case in point. I have no faith that it “tastes better the next day”. There is no proof and I doubt there ever will be.
Saying Goat Rendang tastes better the next day gets my goat. There’s no goat to get. Why? Because we ate it all on the first sitting. It was far too tasty to keep. We’ll never know if it tastes better the next day. If I were just that bit more trusting, I’d be sitting here (with you, as you would have arrived on time), living on 40% of a Nigerian royal fortune, debating the merits of cold goat rendang.
But, life has eroded my blind faith and instead of that glorious scenario, I’m here typing this recipe not knowing if an additional 24 hours in the fridge improves the dish.
Ingredients for Goat Rendang
- 1 kilo of goat leg meat, cubed.
- 4 or 5 banana shallots
- 4 or 5 stalks of lemongrass
- 5 cm or so of galangal
- 5 cm or so of ginger
- 3 hot chilies
- 4 or 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of grated, desiccated coconut
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 or 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 2 cans of good quality coconut milk
- Half a tablespoon of palm sugar
Side note on palm sugar: If you come across a recipe calling for palm sugar, go out and buy some. You could substitute ordinary sugar and you would never know what you are missing. However, I know and you will need to trust me, without proof.
Dry fry the desiccated coconut until it becomes a rich brown colour.
In the same pan, dry fry the cumin seeds.
Roughly chop the shallots, ginger, galangal, chilies and garlic.
Blend or grind the cumin seeds and these aromatics into a paste. Add a little oil to a wok and fry the mixture for a few minutes. It will darken and become very aromatic. Don’t burn it.
Add the goat meat and stir to cover it in the paste.
Add the palm sugar and stir until the meat is well covered and starting to brown. Bash the lemongrass to bruise it. Add the lemongrass, desiccated coconut, cinnamon stick, kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk. The mixture will look at its worst.
The rendang will take between three and a half hours and four and a half hours to cook from here. Bring the pot to a simmer and turn the heat down to very low. Stir. You can take a few minutes off to do something unrelated to cooking. However, you will need to return to stir the mixture every five minutes or so. This will form the pattern of the rest of the cooking process. A good rendang can’t be rushed and it needs regular stirring. After an hour, the rendang will look like in the next photo.
After another 60 minutes, the sauce is beginning to darken and thicken.
As the rendang thickens, the oils in the meat are released. These can be spooned off, if you desire.
The rendang will have filled the house with incredible aromas. When all the ‘sauce’ has evaporated and all the dry ingredients have bound to the meat, it’s time to eat. I served it with a simple turmeric rice. The flavour was delicious. The natural sweetness of the meat was accentuated by the palm sugar. This initial taste was followed by a wonderful complex coconut spiciness and finished off by a gathering chilli heat.
As I intimated above, we ate the lot. I have another kilo of goat in the freezer. If I make this again, I know we will eat it all at one sitting. We will never get to know if it tastes better the next day. It will never last that long. Now, where’s that email from the Nigerian prince?