Monday, December 6, 2010

Beef Kalio (Padangnese beef stewed in spicy coconut gravy)

Dear Yul, 
Tolong sampaikan terimakasih banyak ke Ibu ya :)

I swear I thought I was making a beef rendang. I even bragged about it! I was enjoying my "beef rendang" until my Padangnese (and also Minangese) friend Yul, whose mother kindly gave me her recipe, told me that it`s not rendang unless you heat it over and over again for days until the beef turns black. Otherwise, its name is KALIO.What?
Knowing this,  I was half digesting the beef, which was still undoubtedly delicious regardless the confusion, and the fact as well, that a dish can have totally different names when it gets older. That makes me wonder if there are other food with similar naming culture. But I can`t think of anything so far.

So let`s just go back to the business. Gastronomic business, huge deal.
Beef rendang kalio is one of Indonesian famous dishes with time- and labor-consuming preparation. You have to devote your self completely in order to achieve the supreme deliciousness of the dish. Okay, you know I`m exaggerating here. A bit. Just a bit. But this is me making the dish. That means, as long as you can get the ingredients, you can make it too. Even better than mine I think.

Start with making spice paste containing garlic, onion (or shallot), red chili, ginger, galangal, and candlenuts.

Heat your pan, drizzle some oil, dump in the spice paste, add some kaffir lime leaves, bruised lemon grass, and galangal. and start sauteing until fragrant.

Oh wait, I find other recipes using star anise for rendang and I happen to have it, so I used it too. Other than that, add cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. Spice combo!
Actually, Yul`s mother`s recipe calls for turmeric leaves, which I believe important to enhance the fragrance. Too bad I don`t have them, but I`ll just keep looking. If you`re lucky enough to have them, use them.

When the aroma from the spices start to fill the air in your entire kitchen, toss in beef chunks. Do not cut the beef too small, because it will reduce in size during the whole cooking process. Stir a bit to until the beef lightly coated with the spice.

Now pour in coconut milk, stir well, and simmer.

When the beef looks like cooked already, dump in potato chunks. Small-sized potatoes will do great here.
You can start seasoning with salt and brown sugar, but don`t oversalt. Start with few pinches and you can add it later when it`s almost done.

Keep simmering with occasional stirring. Always on low heat, please. So this is where you can start to wonder when your kalio will be ready. When it still looks like a soup, or stew, you still have long way to go.

It actually took me like one and a half hours until most of the liquid has reduced (it was 500 ml at the beginning), the oil separated from the coconut milk, and it turned into gravy. Adjust the taste with salt or sugar. Add some more chili powder if you want more heat.

Alright, this is the reward for your hardworking and patience. The beef and potatoes are  now nicely tender and deeply infused (and coated) with spice richness.

Rice, beef kalio, and sambal ijo. Beauty. With calories. Enjoy!

For spice paste
Onion or shallot
Chili (regular red ones and bird`s eye one if you have)
Turmeric leaves
Lemon grass
Kaffir lime leaves
Star anise
Brown sugar
Coconut milk


  1. wow,,excellent ! i do believe that the taste is really good !! you're so talented :)

  2. the credit should go to the Master Chef who gave me the recipe, not me! can`t wait to test her other recipes too! :))

  3. wah enak bangettttttt pake nasi anget berpiring2 heheheh

  4. not sure if it`s only me or my pants are tighter today, akibat makan berpiring2 :D