Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cooking With Thermal Cooker : Indonesian style beef curry (rendang)

This weekend's weather has been wet. Rain drizzled pretty much whole day on Saturday. What activities are best done at that kind of weather ? ha..ha..If you said eating, you're right. Another thing which is also fun is cooking.

A friend of ours own a few of thermos pot thingy which they swear by them. It's so easy, just put your ingredients in, bring it to a boil and drop it in the shell cover. Let it sit a few hours and voila you have tender azuki bean dessert. Or they even use it to cook rice. The best part I guess is using less power to cook. But I wouldn't take their words until I try it myself. So they were kind enough to let us borrow one since they'll be out of town for quite a while.

I got this piece of pork leg and I thought of making Indonesian style rendang (beef cooked with coconut milk and aromatic spices). And I would utilize the thermos pot for that purpose.

So what is this thermos pot thingy ? It's basically almost like a thermos used to keep liquid hot. Except this one is bigger size (like a pot). It consisted of the outer shell with the inner chamber that feels like made of aluminum. And the inner pot itself is made of stainless stell.

about 2 lbs of meat (I used pork). Cut into cubes of 1 inch by 1 inch.
1 medium size onion, thinly sliced.
300 ml coconut milk
200 ml water ( I used chicken broth for richer taste)
3/4 cup shredded coconut, pan fried under low heat until golden color
4-5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded.
2 tbs oil (I used olive oil)
1 pack of store bought rendang paste
4-5 thai chilli, thinly sliced (optional)

Heat the inner pot of the thermos with medium heat. Pour in the oil and let it warm up. Put in the onion, thai chilli and kaffir lime leaves. Stir until fragrant, put in the meat and the rendang paste. Stir around for another 5 minutes. Pour in the rest of the liquid (coconut milk and water). Also put in the shredded coconut. Bring to a boil.
Heating up inner pot on stove

Take the inner pot out of stove and drop into the shell of the thermos. Lower the top of the outer shell of the thermos. Let it sit for at least 3 hours.
Dropping inner pot to the outer shell. Make sure to hold  it with  a pot holder. It's hot.

My pork leg turned out to be extra lean and tough. So my first round sat for 3 hours. Then I tested the meat and it was still tough. I took out the inner pot and brought it to a boil. At that time even after 3 hours, the contents of the pot was still hot. So it didn't take long to bring to a boil. I took the pot off the stove and dropped it back in the shell. That was last night. So the second round sat for almost 10 hours.

This morning I tested the pork and it's still not tender enough. So I took the pot out and brought it to a boil again. Then I dropped it back in the shell and let it sat until lunch time. The third round sat for around 3 hours.

When we finally tried it for lunch, the meat was tender enough to be separated by chopstick. Yum..yum..
pork rendang

Conclusion :
Thermos pot did cut cooking time for this preparation. Had the meat wasn't tough, it would have taken less round of reheating the pot. Satisfactory result.