Dry Cooked Spicy Beef (dengdeng balado)

According to Keasberry, dendeng balado is a specialty created by the Minangkabau people, an ethnic group indigenous to West Sumatra. Thinly sliced beef is preserved through a mixture of sugar and spices and dried through the frying process, so it could be taken on a days-long trip without a need for refrigeration. The word balado literally means “with chiles,” as these beef slices are typically seasoned with grounded chiles, lado.

Serves 2

  • 1 pound beef sirloin, top round, or tenderloin, sliced into strips, about 2 1/2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large (1 ounce) shallots, minced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons x
  • 1 teaspoon Indonesian shrimp paste (terasi) or any Southeast Asian shrimp paste, diluted with 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 thin slices fresh galangal
  • 2 tablespoons Indonesian chile sauce (sambal oelek)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice, for serving

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet placed over high heat and pan-fry the beef strips just until cooked through. Take the skillet off the heat. Transfer the beef to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the residual oil in the pan and leaving the pan unwashed. When the beef is cool enough to handle, flatten it with a mallet and set aside.

Put the same skillet in which you cooked the beef on medium heat, sauté the shallots and garlic until translucent. Stir in the coriander, cumin, tamarind, diluted shrimp paste, galangal, chile sauce, and sugar. Return the beef to the pan and stir well to coat then add the coconut milk. 

Simmer over low heat. The dish is ready when the oil separates and rises to the top. The meat should be tender and the sauce rich and hearty. Season with salt to taste, remove and discard the hard herbs, and serve over rice.

Adapted with permission from Indo Dutch Kitchen Secrets: Stories & Favorite Family Recipes from Stroopwafel to Rijsttafel by Jeff Keasberry, copyright © 2017. Published by Mascot Books. 

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