Here is the traditional way the Sumatrans cook the often-tough meat of the water buffalo--by slowly simmering it in coconut milk. This recipe takes some time to make, but it's worth it. It keeps for months in the freezer, so make a lot. Serve the rendang over rice.
6 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
Pinch of salt
Defrosted super-hot 1/2-inch chile cubes, as needed (or substitute 1-2 fresh habaneros, stems and seeds removed, chopped)
8 cups coconut milk (not sweetened coconut cream)
3 1/2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Combine the shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt in a blender or food processor and grind to a coarse paste. Add the equivalent of 1/2 of a 1/2-inch cube of super-hot chile juice and taste to determine the heat. Add more chile juice if you want it hotter.
Heat the coconut milk in a large pot, add the paste and the meat. Cook over low heat, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is quite tender. Stir the mixture every 15 minutes or so. The sauce will become very thick. Raise the heat and, stirring continuously, continue to cook the mixture until all the sauce has been incorporated into the meat and the meat becomes golden brown, about 1/2 hour. Serve garnished with the basil.