Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Vegetarian Soya Chunks Rendang (A Spicy Malaysian dish with a twist)


'Rendang' is a type of thick semi-dry gravy very popular in Malaysia and Indonesia which is slow cooked by using roasted and pounded desiccated coconut along with coconut milk. Different states in Malaysia have been preparing this renowned dish by using Asian spices such as Lemongrass, Galangal, Candlenut and Fresh Turmeric and sometimes the consistency as well as the spice level of the gravy vary based on the authentic culture of the state.  Originally, the recipe calls for chicken, mutton or beef as a main source of protein for this semi-dry gravy but I have substituted it with soya chunks which you can easily buy from any Indian stores. The soya chunks are basically made of soya flour, water and salt. They can be found either in dry granules or mini balls form which require soaking in hot water to soften before the use in savory cooking. In fact, additional preservatives and flavorings are not used so it has been a great source of protein for vegetarians who are looking for healthy choice of cooking.  Unlike seitan or frozen kind of soya meat available in the supermarket or Chinese store, the soya chunks are bland in taste so seasonings in the form of spices definitely required for a delicious dish. The best part of the soya chunk is that it is free from chemicals and ridiculous taste enhancer. Eid celebration in Malaysia is incomplete without Rendang as this dish has been constantly appreciated by all races living in Malaysia for the spicy, sweet and aromatic spices used so intelligently without overpowering the taste. However, as the title above implied, I tweaked the original recipe without using a lot of strong scented spices as the soya chunks are not having real meaty flavor but you do get the exact pleasant experience of eating Rendang. That you should have no doubt about. I found this keeper recipe in one of my mother's hand written cookbook diary. I hope you'll endeavor the recipe and have the best dining experience at your home. Lets check on the recipe and its method of preparation.


Ingredients :

Dried soya chunks : 1 cup
Russet potato : 1
Big red onions : 3
Medium sized ripe tomato : 1
Dry red chillies (You can reduce the amount of chilly, then the Rendang won't be reddish) : 8
Ginger : 2 inches piece
Garlic : 5 cloves
Grated coconut : 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup
Coconut milk : 1/2 cup
Salt : as needed
Oil : 2 tbsp


 To temper:

Cinnamon stick : 1
Cloves : 6

Method :

1. Soak a cup of soya chunks  in a sufficient hot boiling water for 10 minutes. After the time, you'll find it doubled in size. Now, you have to squeeze out the excess water from the soya chunks and cut each chunk half and keep them aside.

2. Next process is to dry roast 1/4 and 1/8 cup of freshly grated coconut in the heated pan till it turns deep brown colour. To avoid burning the grated coconut, you must keep stirring so the heat is evenly distributed.

3. Now, in a small liquidizer, add dry red chillies, ginger, garlic and roasted coconut with enough water. Grind them to a smooth consistency kind of red paste. 

4. In a heated pan, add 2 tbsp of oil, chuck in ingredients under "Temper Section", a minute later followed by sliced onion and salt. Fry till the sliced onions are translucent. At this stage, start adding diced tomato and the red paste. You may need to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to further cook the gravy till the oil from the coconut oozes out, changes to dark red colour and water had reduced indicating the sign to add soya chunks and small cubed potatoes.  

5. Let the gravy cook in low flame and check for the seasoning. After, the gravy changed colour slightly and oil oozes out, add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and further cook for another 15 minutes before switching off the flame. The Rendang has to be at semi-dry consistency.




-Abby

Vegetarian Soya Chunks Rendang

Soyamate.JPG
Unflavored without GMO soy chunks