A coconut taste explosion from Malaysia

Fascinating comment from Georgiana Francescotti’s on her passion for Malaysia and its mouth-watering food

“Hi, my name is Georgiana Francescotti but don’t let this Italian name fool you. It is a classic example of “it’s a small world”. I was born in Penang, Malaysia with Filipino and Singhalese heritage and Chinese cultural upbringing. I am responsible for Adama’s global Digital and Knowledge Services, including AgTech services.

Working in Agriculture is like being a lifetime student. If anything, I have learnt that to simply put food on the table takes a lot of complexity and passion that involves a whole eco-system. We each have a crucial role to play, from the grower to the consumer.

One of Malaysia’s key crops is the coconut tree. Do you know that we call it the “tree of 100 uses” or the “tree of life”? The uses of the coconut tree start from the leaves down to its roots. This tree is a source for products for building houses, decor, and even medicine. Coconut leaves produce a good quality of paper pulp, midrib brooms, hats and mats, fruit trays, fans, and utility roof materials.

But most commonly known is the coconut itself. It is a source for many of our national recipes, not least various curries. And coconut oil today is used not only in cooking but as treatment for hair.

One of my favorite dishes is called Rendang Daging and while it is beef-based, the flavour is in the sauce which depends largely on coconut milk and desiccated coconut. And here’s a great tip: this dish is 100% gluten-free as long as you use GF soy-sauce! Here is the recipe and as we say in Bahasa Melayu: Selamat Makan! (Bon appetit)”

Beef Rendang Recipe:

Ingredients (A):
- 1 kg of beef
- 600ml of coconut cream
- 100ml of vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Gluten-free soy-sauce
- Desiccated coconut

Ingredients (B)- to blend:
- 4 candlenuts
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 300 g of red chili
- 250g of onions
- 50g of ginger
- 50g of galangal
- 50g of turmeric
- 1½ tsp of coriander
- 1 tbsp (15g) of salt
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 4 green cardamoms
- 11/2 tsp of cumin
- 10 cloves

Ingredients (C):
- Seasonings and Spices
- 4 stalks of lemongrass
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 piece of asam keping
- 2 turmeric leaves, tied up

- Cut the beef into 4 cm squares, half cm thick. Do not cut the beef too small as the meat can break into smaller pieces during cooking. Marinate in soy-sauce, leave aside.
- Blend all the ingredients in (B), set the blend aside.
- Remove the green section and the outer sheath of the lemongrass. Use only the white portion. Smash the lemongrass to ensure the release of the flavor.
- Heat up the vegetable oil in a wok. Saute the spice paste (B) over low heat until aromatic.
- Add the coconut cream, turmeric leaves, kaffir lime leaves, asam keping and lemongrass into the wok.
- Add the beef and cook over medium heat. Bring the coconut milk to a boil.
- Once it is boiled, continue to simmer over low heat. Add water from time to time when the stew is about to dry.
- Cook until the beef absorbs the flavor of the spices thoroughly and the color turns to dark brown. It will take about three hours.
- Sprinkle desiccated coconut before serving. Serve with rice or bread.


As well as food and cooking, Georgiana loves to enjoy the great outdoors
Georgiana spending time in the mountains, one of her great passions
Beef Rendang with an explosive coconut taste