Serves: 4 | Prep: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 2.5 hours | Difficulty: Easy | Suitability: Vegan
Known as the king of Indonesian dishes, rendang is the most treasured food in West Sumatran culture. Kalio is rendang’s fragrant and powerfully flavoured younger sibling, a rendang cooked two thirds of the way. The resulting dish has all the flavour of rendang, but instead of being caramelised until nearly all the liquid has evaporated, kalio stops cooking when the oil splits from the coconut milk and the remaining sauce is thickened and reduced. This version uses baby potatoes and young, green unripe jackfruit, a wonderful combination that absorbs all the glorious flavours of the spice paste.
For the spice paste:
11 long red chillies, roughly chopped
6 shallots (banana shallots or 12 Thai ), peeled and roughly chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled
12cm (about 60g) ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
12cm (about 60g) galangal, woody stem removed, and thinly sliced (optional)
3cm (around 15g) fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
For the curry:
Neutral oil for cooking
8 dried Chinese or shiitake mushrooms
2 cans of young, green jackfruit, rinsed and drained
400g baby potatoes
3 cans (1200ml) of coconut milk
1 teaspoon sea salt, or more
2 lemongrass stems, bruised and tied into a knot
3 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
5 keffir lime leaves, fresh or frozen (optional)
- Soak the dried mushrooms in 200ml of boiling water for 30 minutes. Blend the ingredients for the spice paste together until they form a smooth paste. Add a splash of the measured coconut milk if the texture is too coarse.
- Heat two tablespoons of oil in a wide and deep, heavy based saucepan and cook the spice paste for 10 to 15 minutes until softened and fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients, including the mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Bring the liquid to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring the pan every so often to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- After around 2–2½ hours, the oil from the coconut milk will split and rise to the surface of the kalio, appearing as a reddish orange oil – this stage is called kalio. Depending on the oil content of your coconut milk, this may just be a subtle film of oil, or in other cases there can be pools of it.
- Continue cooking the kalio until the sauce is thickened and the sauce is strongly flavoured. Remove the dried mushrooms, taste and adjusting the seasoning with salt if needed and then serve.