[ Sangihe Island, Indonesia,03-36.4 N / 125-29.4E ]
Festival Sangihe (see the "yacht girls" dressed in their best batik for the closing ceremony) on Sangihe Island, Indonesia - which we sailed to from the Philippines against the wind and current - included a visit by renowned chef and celebrity William Wongso who promotes the cuisine of his native Indonesia through many avenues including television, the internet, websites and grass roots groups. An entertaining and warm individual, he soon had the audience gathered around his table sampling his spicy and tasty concoctions. This recipe, while not his, represents a dish he has taken to international contests. If we can acquire Wongso's personal recipe, we will swap it out. Our own recipe was done in a pressure cooker; we carmelized with the cover off. This was to save pans aboard.
While not "traditional", we enjoy serving over wide Thai rice noodles.
3 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1-2-inch pieces
8 red chilies, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, tender insides finely sliced
1/3 cup tamarind paste (combined with 1/3 cup warm water)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (ground chiles, not the chili pepper spice blend)
1 (15 ounce) can light coconut milk
2 teaspoons sugar
salt to taste
Put the beef in the slow cooker.
In a blender or food processor combine the chilis, onion, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, tamarind paste, 1 cup warm water, and the spices. Puree until smooth, then pour over the beef.
Stir in the coconut milk and cook, covered, on the low setting for 5-6 hours.
The beef will be tender and the sauce will be dark brown.
Ladle most of the sauce into a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat to reduce until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
Pour the sauce back in the cooker and cook on high for 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.
Stir in the sugar and season with salt to taste.
Serve over steamed rice.