Rendang is a dish originated from Minangkabau (a West Sumatra Island in Indonesia) produced from mostly beef, but can also be made with chicken, duck or buffalo. The primary recipe, is milk squeezed from coconut then cooked and stewed with the meat for up to 2 hrs to allow the meat and coconut to reduce and dry up to encrust the tender beef pieces, producing an intensely flavored dry curry which can last up to 4 months, whilst the more wetter one 2 months.
Other than the intense delicious flavours, Rendang itself is also a philosophy.These are derived from the 4 main cooking components of the curry which symbolize the four philosophies contained in the Minang Kabau society.
1. The first philosophy is derived from Dagiang (meat). The meat used in the manufacture of rendang, is traditionally beef. This symbolises the traditional tribal leaders in West Sumatra, the "Ninik Mamak".
2. The second philosophy is derived from Karambia (coconut). Coconut is a symbol of the intellect, and the intellectuals.
3. The third philosophy is derived from Lado (chili), this symbolises the scholars, and the spicy and assertive way in which the teaching of religion takes place.
4. The last philosophy is cooking (spices) that symbolizes the whole of society Minang.
So when your cooking a rendang variety, it is more the symbolism of an ancient culture and society from which it was born.
At the present time, the rendang cuisine has been progressively expanding to include variations such as jackfruit (rendang Cubadak), rendang egg, potato rendang and rendang lung! So try adding a bit of this traditional Sumatran flavor into your curry reportoire.