I am not Indonesian so this was not your traditional Rendang.  I am fairly certain in Indonesia they wouldn’t add pumpkin and spinach but I am in Australia and the beauty of that is, I can pretty much do whatever I like!  I did however stick to the traditional method of cooking the meat. low and slow in coconut cream and spices until meltingly tender and fragrant.  I was pretty happy with the result but I’ll let you be the judge!

This is traditionally a fairly dry curry but I think it would go pretty well in the slow cooker, it just may not be as dry.  Brown your meat first and then cook for 8 hours on low.

Prep time:   30  Minutes                   Cooking time:  21/2 Hours               $  Low Budget

Serves 4 very hungry or 6 smaller eaters

Oil for frying (peanut, olive or canola will do)

800gm of pork scotch fillet, cubed

3 cloves of garlic

1 long red chilli, finely chopped

1 stalk of lemon grass, finely chopped

3cm piece of ginger, finely grated

1 brown onion, halved and sliced top to bottom

2 tsp of ground coriander

2 tsp of ground cumin

1 tsp of turmeric

6 kaffir lime leaves

1 cinnamon stick

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1/2 cup of water

2 x 270gm cans of coconut cream

1 cup of shredded coconut

2 tbs of soy sauce

300gm of butternut pumpkin, peeled and cubed

1 bag of baby spinach leaves

1 cup of coriander leaves

1 red chilli, sliced for garnish

2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded for garnish

For the Rice:

11/2 cups of jasmine rice

21/2 cups of water

1 lemongrass stalk, bruised and split in half leaving one end in tact

Sea salt

Heat a large pan or casserole to a high heat, add a little oil and brown the meat in batches.  Once browned place in a bowl or plat and set aside.

In the same pan, add a little more oil if needed and lightly fry the onion until soft.  Add the lemongrass, garlic, ginger and chilli and fry until fragrant.  Sprinkle in the spices, kaffir lime leaves and cinnamon stick and fry for a minute or so before deglazing the pan with the lime juice.  Scrape the bottom of the pan and add the water so that all the flavour is lifted off the bottom.  Pour in the coconut cream and soy and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and then add the pork to the sauce, juices and all.  Stir, cover with a lid and simmer for 11/2 hours stirring occasionally.

To toast the coconut, heat a dry pan and add the coconut.  It will colour quite quickly so move it around in the pan until it starts to turn nice and golden.  Don’t leave it as it will burn quite quickly.  Once golden, remove from the heat and set aside for later.

After 11/2 hours remove the lid from the curry and add the pumpkin pieces.  Place the lid back on for 10 minutes and then remove the lid to allow the curry to reduce at a very low simmer for another 10 minutes.  You will notice that the oil has split from the coconut cream.  Use a shallow spoon to remove some of the oil.

Place the rice in a saucepan with the water and lemongrass and season with salt.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to lift the rice off the bottom and once simmering, place a lid on and leave it for 12 minutes.  After 12 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the rice to stand for at least 5 minutes.  This is the steaming process and will lift the rice off the bottom of the saucepan and make it nice and fluffy.

Just before serving add 2/3 of the coconut, the baby spinach leaves and the coriander to the curry.  While still on the heat, fold through the curry until the spinach has wilted.

To serve, fluff the rice with a fork, discard the lemongrass and divide between four serving plates or bowls.  Spoon the curry mixture over the rice and scatter over the remaining coconut.  Garnish with chilli slices, lime leaves and coriander sprigs and serve.