แกงต้มกะทิเนื้อโคเค็ม – In this dish, umami-charged, salted sun-dried beef is gently grilled over charcoal, adding smoke and caramelized elements that emerge in the core of the flavor profile, alongside the umami and the savor of fat. The meat is then cut into bite-size pieces, and slowly braised in thick coconut milk. The coconut fits perfectly onto the triangle of umami, fat and smoke. It brings its own umami and fatty shades, and introduces a rich sweetness that pairs seamlessly with the caramelized character of the grilled beef. The braising also rehydrates the beef and softens it. Bamboo shoots, shallots, galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves are added, perfecting the dish with a complementary sweetness, echoing the umami hues, and cutting citrusy notes while creating hidden astringent layers. The dish is finished with fresh chili peppers and hair-thin julienned kaffir lime for a fresh aroma and piquant bite.
To prepare the sun-dried salted beef: Use one kg of thinly sliced beef – any cut will do. Mix with 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt, and the same amount of granulated sugar. Knead the beef with the sugar and salt for couple of minutes until all is incorporated. Let it rest for about 30 minutes before laying the beef slices on a mesh screen or dehydrator mesh, and place in direct sunlight for total of four hours (two hours on each side). This will result in a semi-dried beef that is suitable for immediate use – and perfect for this recipe. Of course, a longer drying period is required for longer storage periods.