"Rendang is a spicy, time-consuming dish to prepare with a huge number of ingredients but it is well worth the effort. It is served with rice or bread and a vegetable dish and is an event in itself. It is a widely popular dish in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the surrounding area. The next day it will be even better than the day it is made. You may have to look for some ingredients in a South East Asian or Indian store."
Grind nutmeg and cloves into a fine powder in a blender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions, chile peppers, macadamia nuts, garlic, ginger, galangal, and turmeric; blend into a smooth paste, thinning slightly with water if needed.
Place beef in a 12-inch skillet or wok. Mix in paste and coat beef thoroughly. Add coconut milk, lemongrass knots, cinnamon, lime leaves, cardamom, and star anise to form a sauce.
Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring with a spatula every 15 minutes, until sauce has reduced and thickened, about 1 hour. Continue cooking, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and scorching, until sauce turns a dark caramel color and coats the beef, about 2 hours.
Remove from heat, cover, and let stand, about 30 minutes. Discard lemongrass, cinnamon stick, lime leaves, cardamom, and star anise before serving.
Use serrano or Holland chile peppers instead of the Thai chiles if preferred. Substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric for the fresh turmeric if desired.
Depending on your blender's capacity, you may have to make the spice paste in 2 batches and combine them together.
Substitute beef sirloin for the rump if desired. Do not use stew meat. Substitute chicken (white or dark meat), cut into bite-size pieces, for the beef if desired. You can also use a whole chicken, de-boned and cut into pieces.
If you don't use light coconut milk, you may want to skim off some of the fat rendered from the milk in step 3.
Per Serving: 351 calories;18.5 g fat;
18.7 g carbohydrates;
27.7 g protein;
63 mg cholesterol;
70 mg sodium.