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Beef Fillet “Malaysian style” with Sambal sauce

After being invited to a fantastic Scotch Beef-themed dinner at Plateau Restaurant, I made a firm resolution to try and cook some beef dish at home. I was truly inspired by chef Allan Pickett’s creations- in particular, a delicious beef fillet with potato boulangere and Burgundy jus that had surprised me for its flavour and texture, proving to me that this lean cut doesn’t have to be dull.

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Malaysian-style Scotch Beef Fillet with Sambal Sauce

Our household is mixed Italian –Malaysian and many of the dishes we cook could be defined as “accidental fusion”. We both know and love the other’s country cuisine and ingredients, and swaps and contaminations happen all the time, with various degrees of success (a splash of dark soy sauce in ragu? YES. Coriander instead of parsley on tuna spaghetti? NO WAY). As we had shared a delicious Scotch Beef meal, my partner and I decided to cook together for this Scotch Beef recipe and we settled on a Malaysian-inspired take on the classic pan-fried fillet. This dish combines elements of the British tradition and South-East Asian details, and we thought it was a match made in heaven.

We were inspired by one of my favourite dishes from Malaysia, Nasi Lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk with pandan leaves and served with accompaniments, especially for breakfast); this recipe is in no way “the”original recipe but retains some essential charactheristic of Malaysian cuisine:

  • The combination of sweet, savoury and sour flavours- with loads of “umami
  • The presentation in banana leaves – traditionally used to “pack” the rice and accompaniments when sold in steet stalls, hawker- style
  • The presence of sambal blachan (a spicy sauce) and ikan bilis (crispy fried anchovies) – NO PANIC! You can easily make sambal yourself or buy it ready, and skip ikan bilis in this recipe if you can’t find it or don’t like it

We lost the cooking of the rice in coconut milk as it makes it quite heavy; as the focus of the dish is the delicious Scotch Beef fillet and the strong flavour of sambal,  we thought we would keep the rest simple and  just used good quality Basmati rice. The final result was delicious- a feast of colours, textures and flavours! We scraped our plates (actually, banana leaves) clean and will surely be making this again.

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Recipe: Malaysian- style Scotch Beef Fillet

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the meat

  • 2 fillet steaks, 1 inch thick (around 200 gr.each) – choose Scotch Beef for the best quality UK meat
  • unsalted butter
  • rock salt (we used Maldon flakes)
  • pepper (we used Sarawak pepper from Borneo – any good quality pepper will do)
  • a few drops of fish sauce

For the sambal (we adapted a recipe from here – you can find sambal ready-made in specialty Asian stores, although I encourage you to make it, with the help of a food processor or blender)

  • 50 grams dried chillies
  • 10 fresh birds eye chillies (you can use only fresh or only dried as well)
  • 7/8 shallots or 1 ½ cooking onions
  • 8/10 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoon dried shrimps, preferably toasted (2 minutes on a  dry non-stick pan)
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 cup groundnut oil
  • ½ lime
  • Salt to taste

For the sides

  • 1 cup Basmati rice or Jasmine rice
  • Cucumber and peppers, or any other crunchy vegetables you like  as a garnish
  • Crispy fried shallots

Optional

  • Banana leaves to serve (they can be bought frozen in most Asian stores)
  • 1 cup Ikan bilis (dried anchovies- available at specility Asian stores)

 

Execution

      1. Marinade the fillets: put the steaks in a large shallow container; add some freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt, a splash of fish sauce and rub it in. Cover in cling foil and set aside.
      2. Start making the sambal: deseed the chillies (very important! The sauce is meant to be hot but if you don’t take the seeds of it will be unpleasantly so) and soak in hot water for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the other sambal ingredients. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INHALE THE FUMES!
      3. Peel the shallots and garlic of garlic and chop roughly – set aside together with the toasted shrimps
      4. Drain the chillies and whizz them (or pound them) into a paste, adding some il and water was necessary. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the chilli paste until fragrant.
      5. Blitz the shallots, garlic and shrimps into a paste with the rest of the oil. Add to the chillies in the pan and fry for 5 more minutes on a medium heat, making sure the mixture does not burn.
      6. Add the tamarind juice and sugar, stir in and keep mixing- you want the sugar to caramelise but not burn.
      7. When the oil start floating to the surface, turn off the heat and squeeze in half a lime. Let it cool down.

LITTLE TRCK: you can make sambal in advance and save time; just multiply these quantities, make your sauce and then freeze it in small portions. It also keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a week and you can use it for a thousand recipes.

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Prepare the sides:

      1. Cook the rice – you can boil it or cook it pilaf style, I recommend the latter
      2. Slice the cucumber
      3. If using, fry the dried anchovies in groundnut oil until golden (it will take a minute in hot oil) and set aside to dry on kitchen towel
      4. If using, unfreeze the banana leaves, pat dry and cut to size

It’s finally time to cook the meat!

  1. Pat the meat dry as you don’t want excess humidity on the pan
  2. Melt 20 g butter in a pan. When you seetiny bubbles, it’s time to add the meat
  3. Cook to your taste – we like it medium rare so kept it to 1.5 minute each side
  4. Keep spooning the butter over the meat
  5. Set aside and leave to rest for 5 minutes while you assemble the plates

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Presentation:

  • [Optional] Put a piece of banana leave on each plate
  • On each plate, put half of the rice; garnish with crispy friend shallots.
  • Put a tablespoon of sambal on the side (use little- it is very hot and tasty)
  • [Optional] Put some crispy anchovies on the side
  • Garnish with cucumbers
  • Slice your fillets into 1 inch strips and put in the center of the plate
  • Serve with dark and light soy sauce to taste, to season the rice if necessary

Enjoy! 

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For more ideas of great recipes with Scotch Beef, go to their website or check out what fellow blogger Jeanne of Cooksisters did with her ribeye steak- looks delicious! 

Disclosure: Scotch Beef offered us a voucher to buy the meat used in this recipe; this recipe is part of a Scotch Beef competition.

 

 

 

 

 

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Malaysian-Style Beef Fillet with Sambal
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