Rendang, one of the most famous Indonesian dishes in the world because of its deliciousness and richness. As one of the Minangkabau specialities, rendang has its own uniqueness compared to other dishes. Although the culinary experts often describe rendang as part of a type of curry dish, rendang is not usually considered as such in Indonesia because it’s richer and contains less liquid than usual curries in Indonesia.
In 2011 online polls of 35,000 people by CNN International chose rendang as the number one dish from the list of “50 Most Delicious Foods in the World (Readers’ Choice)”. In 2018, rendang is officially recognized as one of Indonesia’s 5 national dishes.
What is Rendang?
Rendang is a spicy meat dish originating from Indonesia, especially the ethnic Minangkabau people and is now generally served throughout the country. As one of the special foods of Minangkabau culture, rendang served at ceremonial events and to honor the guests. Traditionally, rendang is prepared by the Minangkabau community during festive events such as traditional ceremonies, weddings and Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr).
Rendang is respected in Minangkabau culture as a manifestation of the philosophy of deliberation, discussion and consultation with elders. It has been claimed that the four main ingredients represent the Minangkabau community as a whole:
- Meat (dagiang) symbolizes Niniak Mamak, traditional clan leaders such as datuk, nobles and honorable elders.
- Coconut milk (karambia) symbolizes Clever Cadiak, intellectuals, teachers, poets and writers.
- Chili (lado) symbolizes Alim Ulama, ulama, ulama, and religious leaders. The heat of chili symbolizes Sharia.
- The mixture of spices (pemasak) symbolizes the rest of the Minangkabau community.
In the Minangkabau tradition, rendang is a dish that is served on special occasions in traditional Minang ceremonies, from birth ceremonies to circumcision, marriage, Qur’an recitals, and religious holidays such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
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How to Cook Rendang?
The technique of cooking rendang develops because of its role in preserving meat in tropical climates. Before cooling technology, this cooking style allows preservation of large quantities of meat.
Rendang is rich in spices. Along with the main meat ingredients, rendang uses coconut milk and pasta from a mixture of spices, including ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemongrass, garlic, onion, red onion, chili and other spices. This mixture of spices is called cooking in Minangkabau.
Spices, garlic, shallots, ginger and galangal used in rendang have antimicrobial ingredients and function as natural organic preservatives. If cooked properly, dried rendang can last for four weeks.
Traditionally the term “rendang” does not refer to certain types of dishes. The verb “rendang”-ing actually refers to the slow cooking method; keep stirring the ingredients in a pan, over low heat, until all the liquid evaporates and the meat cooked well. Traditional Rendang takes hours to cook.
Cooking Rendang involves pounding, grinding ingredients, cooking slowly and is also time-consuming that requires patience. The meat is slowly cooked in coconut milk and spices until almost all of the liquid is gone, allowing the meat to soften and absorb the seasoning.
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The cooking process changes from boiling to frying when the liquid evaporates. Cooking meat until tender with almost all the liquid being evaporated requires caution, keeping it from burning. Due to the use of many spices, rendang is known to have a complex and unique taste.
Rendang is usualy served with ketupat (compressed rice cake) or lemang (sticky rice cooked in bamboo tubes), steamed rice, accompanied by boiled cassava leaves, cubadak (young jackfruit curry), curry cabbage and lado (red chili sauce or green).
This dish is highly recommended to taste when you visit Indonesia. Don’t forget to learn Indonesian with the Indonesian Language Course so that your experience in Indonesia becomes more memorable and easy. You can buy the Indonesia Course Online Package at Cakap.com so you can study anytime and anywhere with material specifically designed for you and professional instructors.