Dendeng refers to thinly sliced dried meat in Malaysian cuisine. It is preserved through a mixture of sugar and spices and dried via a frying process. It is similar to jerky. The creation of dendeng is commonly credited to the Minangkabau people, and their earliest dendeng was made from beef, dried so it would be preserved for days and could be taken along with them when they travelled.
The Padang cuisine version — probably the most popular dish in Malaysia — is called Balado or Batokok, and is a speciality from Padang, West Sumatra, made from beef which is thinly cut then dried and fried before adding chillies and other ingredients.
Rendang is often described as slow-cooked meat in coconut milk and spices. The cooking technique flourished because of its role in preserving meat in a tropical climate. Prior to refrigeration technology, this style of cooking enabled the preservation of a large amount of meat.
The cut of beef suitable for rendang is lean meat of the rear leg of the cattle; i.e. topside or ground beef, which is considered perfect for slow cooking.
Rendang is rich in spices. Along with the main meat ingredient, rendang uses coconut milk and a paste of mixed ground spices, including ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chillis and other spices. This spice mixture is called pemasak in Minangkabau
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