Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lamb Rendang & Roti Jala (Malay & Indian)

I have always loved Malay dishes and this 'Rendang' dish is my favorite. Despite having a bland tastebud when I was young and never a big spicy food fan nor curry lover then, I never miss out on Rendang. It is possibly the addition of the grated coconut flesh which is pan fried dry, known as 'Kerisik' in Malaysia which makes this dish more appealing to me and the fact that this dish has a thicker gravy sauce and served without overflowing and soaking gravy like the Indian curry, makes the meat that is cooked to tender texture more succulent and presentable.

The favorite Rendang back in my hometown is beef rendang but I prefer Mutton Rendang, where goat meat is braised and simmered till tender and the gamey taste that it has never bothered me. The added shaved coconut flesh soaks up the gravy and gives a delightful juicy bite. As both goat meat and fresh grated coconut flesh are unavailable to me, I substituted with lamb and dried dessicated coconut of which I toasted instead of pan fried and surprisingly, the outcome is similar to those I always had in Malaysia.

As for every curry dish, it is best eaten with bread like side dish, mainly because bread soaks up the gravy and it is undeniable that the gravy is what makes any curry or Rendang outstanding in flavor. There are many types of flour dough made products that can be the choice of a curry person and the options are endless from Roti Canai, Murtabak, plain white bread to rice itself. I have chosen Roti Jala for today's dish as I have never made it before despite having bought the mould 5 years ago and I love the turmeric yellow color which goes well with the brown Rendang. 'Jala' is another Malay word that means Net as in fish net and this particular Roti is named so for its particular appearance that resembles a web of net all mingled together with its holes randomly scattered.

In the whole process of preparing this dish with its accompanying Roti, I would say the Roti was the one that tested my patience and I found the Roti Jala mould difficult to swirl around and some of its funnel holes simply get clogged after a few rounds of the batter filling. I was about to give up after making the third piece when I suddenly remembered I have a better tool to do the job. I used the usual condiment ketchup bottle that they have at the American Diners to complete the next 10 Roti Jala. It was much easier to handle and squirts out even amount of batter everytime. Still, getting one piece to cook nicely with slight burnt color is not an easy thing to do as each piece has to be made and cooked individually and it takes up a long time to make 12 to feed everyone in my household. Of course, I got the rice cooked too as I wasn't ready to spend another 45 minutes to do another round of 12 more Roti Jala!

The results were good and Curry and his father really enjoyed dipping those Roti into the spicy Rendang. Missy E was poking her fingers through all the holes of the Roti and munching away. It will be sometime before she picks up the spicy taste of Rendang though!

Recipe for Lamb Rendang

2.5 lb lamb leg meat
4 cloves garlic, minced
thumbsize knob of ginger, minced
2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
15 to 20 dried red chillis
3 tbsp cumin powder
2 tbsp coriander powder
2 tsp galangal powder
1 tsp tumeric powder
4 to 5 red shallots, minced
1 tbsp shrimp paste
2 tbsp tamarind paste
4 oz unsweetened dessicated coconut
2 -1/2 cups of water
1 can coconut milk


1)Cut lamb leg into chunks and marinate overnight with garlic, ginger and all the cumin,coriander,galangal, tumeric & 5 spice powder.
2)Bake/Toast the dessicated coconut in oven till brown and fragrant (350F). Leave to cool.
3)Heat pot on medium and fry the shallots and dried chillies with oil. Add in the lamb chunks and stir fry for 10 minutes, turning evenly. Add in tamarind paste and shrimp paste an coat evenly. Cook for 5 minutes.
4)Add in water and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or till meat is tender and sauce is boiled down to 1/3 of water content.
5)Add in coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.
6)Add in toasted dessicated coconut by sprinkling to get the dry consistency of your choice.
7)Serve with boiled rice or Roti of your choice.
Serves: 3 to 5

Recipe for Roti Jala

1-1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1/3 cup water
1 cup lukewarm milk
1 large egg (room temperature)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Non Stick Oil Spray or cooking oil

1) Beat the eggs and add in the milk and mix.
2) Sieve the flour, salt and turmeric together. Add in the water and mix till batter is formed.
3)Add the egg and milk mixture into the flour batter and stir to combine.
4)Strain the batter to remove any lumps.
5)Heat a non-stick frying pan and spray with non stick oil or drizzle in 1/2 tsp oil. Put on low medium heat.
6)Fill the Roti Jala Mould or a condiment bottle and drizzle the batter by swirling in a circular motion from the middle to the outer sides inside the pan and continue in a diagonal motion to form the netting effect. Let the Roti cook on one side for about 3 mins and do a half fold and another half fold to form a wedge triangle shape. Using the spatula press on the Roti for 10 seconds and leave it in the pan till you get the slight burnt marks. Lift out of pan and continue with the batter.

Makes: approximately 12 to 15 Roti Jala (thin)

1 comment:

Agnes said...

Very Very nice CURRY