It’s been a while since I’ve posted a nice, Southeast Asian dish — the spring weather we’ve been waiting so long for finally arrived over the weekend, so I was in the mood for something spicy (“hot,” “piquant,” etc.). I ended up making one of my favorite Indonesian beef, Dendeng Santan (which translates roughly to dried beef in coconut juice, I think). Indonesians typically cook with lean (tough) cuts of beef, such as top round — the beef is cooked for a long time to the point that it is extremely tender and delicious. I didn’t have that much time, so I made this dish with a lightly marbled, boneless beef sirloin steak. The end result was a tender, delicious Indonesian beef dish in a fraction of the time. This dish is delightfully spicy and flavorful — I hope you’ll try it tonight!
1 lb boneless sirloin steak, put in the freezer 30 minutes (to aid in thin slicing), then thinly sliced across the grain into 2-inch long pieces.
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and very finely grated or minced
2 candlenuts, grated
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp tamarind water
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground galangal (Laos) powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut milk, divided
1/2 tsp terasi
2 tsp sambal ulek
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 red Thai chilies, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
In a large bowl, combine beef slices, garlic, candlenuts, coriander, tamarind water, brown sugar, galangal powder and salt. Mix well, set aside and let stand 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine terasi and 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and the sambal olek in a small bowl.
Heat oil in a large wok or Dutch oven over high heat. Add beef mixture and cook 2 minutes. Add coconut mixture and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove lid. Add the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat. reduce heat to low, and cook 15 minutes, or until liquid is considerably reduced. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and a spicy Indonesian relish, such as sambal petai. Garnish with Thai chilies.