The most difficult thing about my speed climb of the 4,884-meter peak Puncak Jaya, the tallest and most technical climb in Indonesia, was not repelling the near-constant sexual advances of climbing partner Rosario Dawson.
Neither was it managing to keep my custom-made climbing tuxedo, made entirely of technical fleece and waterproof soft-shell material and stitched together by the reanimated corpse of Ermenegildo Zegna himself, looking crisp on the ascent.
In fact, the hardest part was that the winds constantly buffeting the rocky north face make it really difficult to put down a good line of blow.
But who doesn’t like a good challenge, right?
I was taking a break from my mission to discover the perfect Paleo meal to bag one of the Seven Summits, the tallest mountain in each continent. My reason for being in Indonesia: beef rendang, the classic beef dish invented by the Minangkabau ethnic people of Sumatra in the 16th century. I realized that the coconut-based, highly-spiced thick sauce, originally designed to preserve meat in the pre-refrigerator era, was in fact a perfect Paleo meal.
Here’s how you make it:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons ginger, roughly chopped
4 shallots, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons chili flakes
2 stalks lemongrass (white parts)
4 kefir lime leaves (or zest of two limes, if you can’t find this)
3 tablespoons galangal (or more ginger, if you can’t find this)
Put into blender until you’ve got a paste.
Oil for frying (paleo folks use rendered animal fat or, in a pinch, olive oil; non-Paleo folks use vegetable oil if you must)
2 pounds good stewing beef (I use chuck), cut into chunks
Heat a pan until very hot. Add oil and sear beef in oil until browned. Remove beef from pan. Sear spice paste until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
2 cups coconut milk
Add coconut milk to pan, along with beef, partially cover, and cook until tender – about three hours. Remove beef, uncover pan, and cook down sauce until liquid is brown and almost completely evaporated. Return beef to pan.