Ox cheek is more of a continental cut – traditionally used by the French, for braising. It has a very strong flavour and needs long, slow cooking. As it is National Curry Week this week I thought it would work just as well in this classic Indonesian curry dish. It worked magnificently – the cheeks were soft and flaky and the spice sauce deep, rich and complex.
For the spice paste
1 large red chilli
1 long green chilli
6-8 garlic cloves
Golf ball-sized piece of ginger, peeled
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer stalks removed, sliced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
For the ox cheeks
2 tsp oil 2 ox cheeks, trimmed of sinew and cut into chunks
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 can coconut milk
Zest of 1 lime
Coriander leaves to garnish
1. Put all the ingredients for the spice paste with a little water and whiz to a paste.
2. Add the oil to a large frying pan and brown the ox cheek chunks all over, for approx. 5 mins.
3. Add the onions and stir to combine. Add the lime zest.
4. Add the spice paste.
5. Then the coconut milk. Stir to combine. Transfer to a slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours until the beef is very tender. If you don’t have a slow cooker, transfer to a casserole dish with a lid and cook in the oven, preheated to 160C/Gas 3 for 2-3 hours.
6. When cooked, transfer to a bowl and put in the fridge for up to three days – the flavours will improve.
7. When ready, reheat the the rending in the oven or on the hob, if you want to reduce the sauce. It should be very thick and meaty. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with sticky rice.