Slow Cooker Indonesian Beef Rendang

Slow Cooker Indonesian Beef Rendang
Have you ever heard of an Indonesian rijsttafel? Rijsttafel is actually a Dutch word meaning “rice table.” It originated in Holland (who occupied Indonesia for over 300 years) as a way for the wealthy landowners to sample small portions of delicious Indonesian dishes at one meal. It was also a way to impress visiting guests. In the early days, there were as many as 100 different dishes surrounding a large cone-shaped bowl of rice; the meals would last several hours. When Indonesia won their independence from the Dutch in 1945, the Indonesians rejected anything related to the Dutch culture, and rijsttafels ceased to be popular in Indonesia. Their popularity in Holland, however has only increased over the years, and a rijsttafel continues to be one of the most popular dining experiences in Dutch cities by locals and tourists alike.
Modern rijsttafels, which are featured on most of the menus of the numerous Indonesian restaurants in Holland, feature between 16 and 40 Indonesian specialties consisting of meats, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, condiments, and nuts in individual dishes. If you get a chance to eat at an Indonesian restaurant, you will not be disappointed when you order a rijsttafel. Some of the dishes featured at the rijsttafels that I have enjoyed are beef rendang (beef cooked for hours in coconut milk and spices), gado gado (steamed vegetables in peanut sauce), pickled cucumbers, batter fried bananas with crispy coconut, and of course, the most well-known Indonesian dish, satè.
I certainly don’t have time to prepare 16-40 dishes for a single meal, but Indonesian food is so delicious, I like to make one or two for dinner on occasion. Beef Rendang is a favorite of my family, and I have adapted my recipe to be made in the slow cooker. I usually serve it with jasmine rice (a must), easy pickled cucumbers (an easy and delicious condiment), and Gado Gado.  The Asian ingredients are available at most Asian grocery stores.
8 Servings
2-3 pounds Beef Rump Roast, or other braising beef
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh ginger
2 birdseye chilies, (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons lemongrass stalks, finely chopped (I buy frozen, finely chopped lemongrass at my Asian grocery)
2 14 oz. cans coconut milk

2 cups Jasmine Rice, cooked with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Trim all fat and cut the beef into 1" pieces;transfer the meat to a slow cooker.
Cut the onion into coarse chunks and put it in the food processor with the garlic, ginger, chilies, salt, sugar, coriander, tamarind, turmeric, and chopped lemongrass. Process until the mixture is a fairly smooth paste; stir it into the beef. Add the coconut milk, stir, and turn the slow cooker to low. Cook on low 4-6 hours; there will be quite a bit of liquid in the pot. Stir, then turn the slow cooker to high and set the lid slightly off (1/4” – 1/2”) Continue to cook for 2-3 hours on high until the excess liquid has evaporated. Serve over cooked rice.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 438 Calories from Fat 227
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 52% Protein 26% Carb. 22%
Nutrient Amount per
Total Fat 25 g
  Saturated Fat 20 g
Cholesterol 67 mg
Sodium 355 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 29 g
Vitamin A 18% Vitamin C 42% Calcium 0% Iron 33%

Indonesian Pickled Cucumbers

1 large cucumber, or 3 miniature cucumbers

1 tablespoon palm sugar, or brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh mint, finely chopped

Slice the cucumber or miniature cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices and place them in a serving bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the cucumbers. Refrigerate until serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 14 Calories from Fat 1
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 5% Protein 9% Carb. 86%
Nutrient Amount per
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 195 mg
Total Carbohydrate 3 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 0 g
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 5% Calcium 0% Iron 1%
rijsttafel." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 8 Oct. 2007  .

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