Why? What had happened?
I am sure someone is going to be laughing the hell out of him when he reads this post. It aches everywhere. Alright. Where? The middle, upper and lower back but not my arms. What had happened? I guess I knew just as much.
Yesterday, I started my greatest venture... ie. preparation for the hardest dish to make! To me it was the hardest, may not be to you or some who are more expert in cooking. It was 9:00a.m when I began collecting all the ingredients, arranging them in a colander, sharpening the knife, taking out the chopping board, taking out the dried chilies that I have just bought two day ago and glancing at the vary recipe that was given to me at the wet market just the day before.
I was holding some shallots at one of the stalls while talking to the Indian lady presumably its owner, when a gentle and fair skinned lady came wearing a smile in her face. I caught a glance at her returning her smile. I saw her choosing some sizable shallots and putting them in the crinkled plastic bag.
"My children never liked these small ones. They are harder to peel", said her turning to me.
"If you want a bigger one, take the big red onion", she continued with a little laughter.
"I was going to try making Rendang Tok this time but I dunno the exact recipe. I have been looking on the internet and good grief!!! All kinds of recipes were there. Some are so elaborate that I couldn't grasp if it was for this very delicate dish. While a few has so much metrics in them that I am not so sure how much the quantities are!", turning to her.
"Oh I am not an expert, but I could share my simple recipe with you, take a piece of paper and copy", ordered her. The Indian lady turned and looked for a ball pen and a piece of paper with her Cash Sales pad and handed it to me. I began writing the followings diligently so as not to miss any important ingredients from this lady chef.
"2 kgs. beef for rendang (the harder version)
10 stalks lemongrass
20 pieces red chillies
1 1/2 kgs. red onions
7 cloves garlic
2 kilos coconut milk
2 cups kerisek
4 heaps Tablespoon Curry Powder
2 Tablespoon black pepper
1 piece Gula Melaka
And cook on a slow fire" ordered her firmly.
"Thank you mam for this recipe" holding out my hands to grace her.
"When are you going to start preparing it?" asked her seriously.
"Afterwards when I get home" said I obediently.
"No. There won't be sufficient time to get it ready. Definitely you won't get it done today if you start afterwards", firmly telling me.
"You better start tomorrow morning. It takes 8 hours to cook!" she continued.
"Oh that long? Okay tomorrow I shall begin then", replied me.
"I have got packed coconut milk. Could I use them?" I asked her another time.
"Oh NO! We don't use such coconut milk. Get the pure and fresh ones" replied her.
The Indian lady must have felt safe. Her 4 boxes of coconut milk were already paid and safe in my bag.
"Oh I am xxxx and thanks again for this wonderful recipe", I continued.
"And I am xxxx", in her replies mentioning her name as Z.
I then left the stall, turning round to go to a Malay lady's stall. I was looking for some items. I bought some coconut milk...not little though, 2 kgs. mind you?
Coming home, I felt so tired. Put everything away and took a rest.
Yesterday morning, I was so determined to try this dish myself. You know why? They sell it so expensively at the "Pasar Tani" ...
While cleaning the dried chillies, I was sneezing away. The dust from them have found their ways into my nostrils. I tried soaking them in tepid water, it did not go off either. Never mind. I have to clean them anyway. Once done, cleaned, rid off the plentiful seeds, I boiled it on a slow fire.
Next, were the onions. How many is 1 1/2 kgs? I made a wild goose guess. I must have taken more than 20 pieces. They are small ones, not the usual big sized lot. Peeling them was not a hassle. Cutting them up ready to go into the blender. Half the amount was thinly sliced. I was not told to do it but I enjoy doing it especially when I have a very sharp knife. I took out some 12 pieces lemongrass and slicing them up finely. Cutting up the garlic in small pieces and shoving everything into the blender. Once done, I heat up the big wok, turning the stove on and pouring out everything into it. Meanwhile, the beef was still frozen but not too hard now. The chillies were now ready to go into the blender. Great! Then I shall have freshly prepared chillies which is not mixed with preservatives. While waiting for the beef to completely thaw out, I prepared some jellies for the Iftar. Not difficult at all. Everything went into the pot, boiled and pour out into the dish, chill and done! It was 10:00a.m when I noticed the beef was ready to join the rest of the ingredients in the big wok. Start timing, shall I?
I took my note book, seated on a stool in the kitchen. Going through the blogs, face book, and emails. Once in a while, I took a peep into the wok and stir a bit. After two hours, the amount of liquid went down a bit. Counting the hours. That was what I did. No salt at this time. The beef were still stiff. By 5:00p.m I put salt, sugar and and and... I couldn't taste it. never mind wait until I break my fast, then I shall taste it. I took it off the stove by 5:30p.m. and got the rest of the dishes ready for breaking of fast. WOW! That was some achievement!!!!.
At Iftar, we tasted the "dish"!!! Wow! HOT! There was too much chillies in it???? Never mind, I shall "repair" it later. Hahaha!
There were sugar added, salt required and another stir was done. This time I shifted it into a non stick wok as the amount was much less now. It also gave me the correct very dark color. This is how it should look like.
By night time after the Terawih Prayer at the mosque, I came home beginning to feel IT!!! There it was! Aching on the back. Hihihi, great cook!
Today, still feeling stiff on my back and shoulder. I put some ointment and settle with it until now. Today I have two washings ready to be dried, this posting to keep my memory jogging and of course the TV watching.
Some rendang cooking!!! By a beginner who is so anxious on doing it herself. It was tough no doubt. The stirring of such volume of mixture gave me this aching back. But am still thankful, I did not get any aches on my arms... Alhamdulillah syukur. I shall keep them in the freezer until they are ready to use... THEY are for my lovely children... I LOVE YOU ...ALL my BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN...