Marrying game with the explosive flavours of Indonesian cuisine is a real master stroke, as Rose Prince proves with this spicy venison stew. Serves four.
Game is perfectly adaptable for Indonesian dishes, as this venison stew will prove. Substituting chicken with pheasant or rabbit for satay works beautifully. A spatchcock partridge marinated in fragrant spices to eat fried — with sambal, of course, and nasi goreng on the side — is a great feast to share. But, as a welcome to the hot and happy world of Indonesian food, here is a recipe for rendang, a rich, powerfully spiced, coconut-based venison stew.
Venison Rendang. An Indonesian-style venison stew
For the paste:
- 15 dried red chillies
- 8 small shallots, or 2 banana shallots, skin removed
- 4cm piece ginger sliced
- 3 lemongrass stalks, root end only, sliced
For the rest:
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 680g cubed venison
- 2 whole lemongrass stalks
- 2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
- 4 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 beef or chicken stock cube
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
To serve: basmati rice
- To make the paste, put the dried chillies in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and allow to cool, then split the chillies with a knife and remove the seeds. It is essential to do this or the paste will taste bitter and overly hot. Put the chillies in a food processor with the shallots, ginger and lemongrass roots and blend until it is a smooth paste. Add a couple of teaspoons of water if the paste still seems rough.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole pan and add the paste. Fry over a low to medium heat for five minutes, then add the venison and whole lemongrass stalks. Stir-fry until the venison is brown, again over a low to medium heat to avoid burning the paste or drying out the meat.
- Add the coconut milk and 250ml water to the pan. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a slow simmer. Cook for two hours, stirring occasionally to make sure the sauce does not stick to the base of the pan. In the meantime, toast the desiccated coconut in a frying pan over a low heat for about five minutes until golden brown.
- Add the toasted coconut to the casserole with the lime leaves, stock cube, tamarind paste, sugar and salt. Cook for another 30 minutes until the meat is soft and tender. The sauce should be thick, with the oil separating away slightly. It is now ready to serve. Remove the whole lemongrass stalks before serving. Eat with plain boiled rice. It has so much flavour, it needs little else.