This fragrant, spicy dish reheats wonderfully. Freeze remaining coconut milk for another use. Tamarind can be bought in many different forms. I prefer the tamarind concentrate found in Asian stores. Kemiri (also called candlenuts) are the nuts used in Malaysia; Brazil or macadamia nuts make a fine substitute. Although the recipe calls for belachan (shrimp paste) I found anchovy paste to be a good alternative. Serve with rice and sambal.
Ready time: 2 1/2 hours
1 cup coconut milk
2 tsp tamarind concentrate, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
1/2 cup sliced red onion
2 tbsp sliced garlic
1/3 oz (10 g) Brazil or macadamia nuts
1 tsp hot chili powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp belachan or anchovy paste
1 stalk lemongrass
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 lb (1 kg) of beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 curry leaves or bay leaves
1/2 cup water (optional)
Combine coconut milk, 1 tbsp tamarind liquid, onion, garlic, nuts, chili, coriander, salt, sugar and anchovy paste in a mini-chop and process into a smooth sauce. Reserve sauce.
Cut off bottom 3 inches of lemongrass, cut into 2. Smash with the back of a knife to release flavour.
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Heat oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add oil. Season beef with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear on each side until brown, about 1 minute a side. Remove meat to a plate. Pour sauce into skillet and bring to a boil. Stir in beef, curry leaves and lemongrass. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beef is tender. Reheat when needed.
Add water during cooking if the sauce evaporates too quickly. Sauce should be thick.