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Rawon (Diced Beef Cooked in A Spicy Black Sauce)

Diced Beef Cooked in A Spicy Black SauceLike gule, Rawon is halfway between a meat dish and a soup-so do not thicken the sauce. Unlike gule, Rawon does not have a warm golden color but is very nearly black, as if the sauce had been made with Bovril. This color comes from the kluwak nuts that are a small but important part of the dish. This nut looks from the outside like a large Brazil nut; inside, it has a soft black flesh. At the time of writing, it is not yet obtainable in Britain, but dried kluwak can be bought in Holland. They usually break up into small pieces in the packet, so 2 kluwak can mean 4 or 5 good-sized pieces. Dried kluwak must be soaked in cold water for an hour or so and then boiled for about 10 minutes so that they become soft. Without kluwak, these Ingredients will make a pleasant-tasting dish, but it will not be Rawon. The ingredients listed will be enough for four people.

  • 500 g (a little over 1 lb) beef-brisket or silverside
  • 3 red chillies
  • 1 slice terasi
  • 6 shallots
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 6 shallots
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp Laos (galingale)
  • ½ powdered, or 1 blade fresh, lemon grass
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 kluwak
  • a little tamarind-a piece about the size of a walnut, which must be grilled for about 1 minute on each side before use
  • salt

Boil the beef, all in one piece and with a little salt, for about 1 hour.

Seed the chillies, shallots, terasi, and kluwak to a smooth paste. Mix in with this the coriander, turmeric, Laos, and lemon grass. Saute this paste in 1 tablespoonful of vegetable oil for 1 minutes. Cut the boiled beef into small cubes. Strain the stock into the wok or saucepan that the spices were sauteed in, and add the cut-up meat and the grilled tamarind. Simmer for 40-50 minutes. Take out the tamarind before serving.

Rawon is served with plain boiled rice, and it is usually accompanied by raw beansprouts, Sambal Terasi and Krupuk. This is a good supper this.


*Note: In Indonesia, the meat is usually fried until crisp. You can even buy sun-dried dendeng which only needs coating with bumbu and frying. Crisp dendeng can be rather tough, and I prefer it as described above; however, a purist might say that my recipe is not ‘genuinely’ Indonesia.

to serve four

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