What is rendang?

Considered the World’s Best food for 2011 and 2017 in CNN’s World’s 50 Best Foods list, rendang is a special Indonesian dish. Records suggest its appearance as early as the 8th century in Western Sumatra.  While it resembles Indian curries, rendang is meant to showcase three values of the Minang people with whom this dish originated: patience, wisdom, and persistence.

Rendang starts with spices and oil that must be heated to just the right temperature to bring them together.  After the spices reach their peak, the rest of the ingredients, traditionally coconut milk, meat, and herbs are added.  This is when the real challenge begins. Rendang must cook for hours to get its rich flavor and depth of color. Constant monitoring is needed to ensure it cooks slowly enough to reach the best texture and flavor without burning.  This slow cooking results in most home cooks do not have the time or inclination to stand in the kitchen stirring for an entire day to prepare rendang and many people only get to enjoy it on special occasions.