Casa del Picky Eaters

Olympic Food Day Eight: Malaysia

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Malaysia was the random choice of Alice, who has been very excited to see the results even though she’s quite risk averse when it comes to food and so probably wouldn’t actually be persuaded to try it. Beef rendang (rendang daging) is quintessentially Malaysian. I actually had it first on a Malaysian Airlines flight on my way home from Australia in 2002 and even in a little foil tray I thought it was great; but even though the memory has stayed with me so vividly I’ve never made it myself. Time to seize my opportunity!

I won’t post the recipe as in a rare instance of conformity I adhered very strictly to a single version: this one from the Rasa Malaysia website. Really the only difference was the cut of beef – I had a hunk of brisket in the freezer from the lovely Keelham Farm Shop, and I also used some fresh chillies in the spice paste. They recommend a food processor for the paste but (alright, I do seem to have made a few changes, then) but my Kenwood doesn’t quite get it to paste so I finished it off the old fashioned way in a pestle & mortar. Cooking time was lengthened as I think any beef stew needs at least 3.5 hours to be properly tender. And we ate it with sushi rice, which with its lovely sticky, clumpy characteristics carries the coconutty rendang gravy really nicely. It wasn’t as hot as I was expecting but was assertively spicy and aromatic. Come winter, this could be a regular feature on our menu.
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At the time of writing, Malaysia haven’t picked up any medals but they’ve already made news by having the most pregnant Olympian ever in their team. Nur Suryani Mohamad Taibi unfortunately failed to make the final in the 10m air rifle, after having to obtain special permission to fly to London (and, presumably, back again) as she is due to give birth in only six weeks’ time.

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