One of my favorite dishes from Indonesia, Beef Rendang, also, unfortunately, takes a long time to prepare, and in this heat, I can’t muster enough energy to spend that much time in front of the stove. So when I found this other Indonesian recipe for chili beef, I thought I’d definitely give it a try. It required relatively few ingredients and an even shorter cooking time. What also piqued my interest were a couple of new ingredients you don’t usually find at your local grocer’s. Kecap manis, which I’ve used before, is a sweet, thick soy sauce that resembles molasses and has the same consistency. Sambal oelek, on the other hand, is a tasty and spicy chili paste on par with Sriracha sauce (and kind of like a chunkier version) that I’ve always used as a condiment. In this particular recipe, both of these marvelous ingredients become part of the marinade that the thinly sliced pieces of beef soak up before being stir-fried in the wok. I think you could even marinate an old shoe in this combo and it would taste good.
¼ cup kecap manis
2 ½ teaspoons sambal oelek
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon grated palm sugar or soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 lb. beef fillet, partially frozen and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1.) Combine the kecap manis, sambal oelek, garlic, ground coriander, palm sugar, sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons water in a large bowl. Add the beef slices and coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
2.) Heat oil in wok. Add the meat in batches and cook for 2-3 minutes or until browned.
3.) Arrange the beef on a serving platter, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves, and serve with steamed rice.