Slow Cooked Rawon Beef Cheek
Cooking for Love
First, prepare the buah keluak seeds. Scrub the outsides with water to clean them, then soak them in clean water for 3-5 days, changing the water every day.
Find the lip in the flat side of each seed, and using a pestle, crack open and peel away any shell in that area. Scoop out the flesh into a mortar. Repeat until you have emptied all the seeds, but save 10 of the shells for later!
Place the buah keluak flesh, sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of water in a blender or food processorand blend until smooth. Stuff the 10 reserved shells with the mixture, until they are full. Place them in the fridge to set aside. Set the rest of the mixture aside for the rempah (spice paste) – you need around 60g of the buah keluak paste left over.
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Now put all the rempah (spice paste) ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
Heat NeuVida Omega 9 Cooking Oil up in a large heavy pot, such as a cast iron pot, over a high heat. Sear the outside of the beef cheeks in batches, until slightly caramelised. Remove and set aside.
Add a little oil if the pot is dry, turn the heat down to medium, then keep frying the lemongrass, galangal, bay leaf and kaffir lime leaves until the aromas are released. Add the rempah and stir until the paste is fragrant, and oil is coming to the surface of it.
Return the beef cheeks to the pot, and toss to combine all the ingredients. Add the beef stock, and as much water as is necessary to just cover the meat. Put the lid on the pot and bring the stew to a boil. Transfer it to the preheated oven for 2½ - 3½ hours, giving it a gentle stir halfway through. You want the beef cheeks to be meltingly tender. When they are nice and soft, take the pot out of the oven. (You can also cook the stew on the stove, for 2-3 hours over a gentle heat.)
Carefully fish out the beef cheeks from the stew, and set aside covered with foil to keep warm. Add the stuffed buah keluak and tamarind juice to the stew and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the buah keluak are cooked through and the sauce has reduced by one-third to one half. Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar. Return the beef cheeks to the stew to warm through.
While the stew is cooking, you can prepare the toasted coconut gremolata. Heat up a large pan on a medium heat, and stir the shredded coconut until golden brown and crunchy. This will take a while, so turn down the heat if it’s browning too fast.
Once the coconut is done, stir in a pinch of salt and grated lime zest. Leave to cool.
Add the stuffed buah keluak and tamarind juice to the stew and leave simmering. Season to taste with salt, pepper, sugar and tamarind juice. Return the beef cheeks to the stew to warm through.
Top the rawon stew with the toasted coconut gremolata and fresh coriander. Its perfect served alongside with rice, cooked salted duck egg, blanched beasprouts and lime wedges.