A richly spiced dish from the Betawi people of Java. It has a little sweetness as well as tang with complex layers of flavour. Don’t be put off by the lengthy ingredient list - the method is simple with long, slow cooking doing all the work, with exquisite results.
Trim the beef of any outer sinew, but leave the inner fat and connective tissue, which will keep the braise tender. Cut the beef into a 3-4 cm (1¼—1½ inch) dice.
Make the bumbu spice paste. Use a food processor or high-speed blender to grind all the ingredients to a paste, adding a little water to help the blades bring everything together.
Heat the oil in a casserole pan and add the bumbu. Fry, stirring often, until the rawness is replaced by a sweet fragrance. Meanwhile halve the galangal and ginger into thick slices and gently bruise them with the handle of the knife. Also bruise the lemongrass and, if they are long enough, tie into knots. When the bumbu is ready, throw these all into the pan with the leaves and whole spices and fry for a minute or two longer. Stir in a small slosh of water to loosen the paste and help the flavours meld.
Add the beef and stir well, coating the beef in the spice paste. Cook for a few minutes to start to brown and caramelise. Add
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