1 tbsp neutral-ﬂavoured oil
1kg chuck steak, beef short rib or other braising steak, cut into 3cm cubes
3 stalks lemongrass, white part only, bruised with a pestle
1 turmeric leaf, shredded (or 3 kafﬁr lime leaves, shredded)
2 tsp sugar
400ml coconut cream
100g grated fresh coconut
8 spring eschalots
6 red birds-eye chillies
6 garlic cloves
3cm piece each of galangal, ginger and turmeric, all peeled and thickly sliced
2 tsp sea salt ﬂakes
1. To make the base paste, put all the ingredients in a food processor or mortar and grind to a fairly smooth paste.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the paste, stirring often, over medium heat for about 5 minutes until darkened and fragrant.
3. Add the beef, lemongrass, turmeric leaf and sugar and toss to coat in the paste. Add the coconut cream and 250ml water and bring to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for 1 hour. In this time the coconut cream should split to release its oil while the liquid boils away. The cooking process will turn from simmering to frying to give a ﬂavoursome dry dish. If the liquid is evaporating too quickly, cover the pot for a while or add a little more water.
4. Meanwhile, dry-fry the coconut in a frying pan until golden brown. Transfer to a mortar and grind to a paste. The coconut will release its oil during grinding and the paste will become sticky.
When the beef has been cooking for 1and 1/2 hours and most of the liquid has evaporated, add the coconut paste and cook, stirring often, over low heat for 30 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the meat is frying in the separated coconut oil. Adjust the seasoning and serve