Beef rendang

Beef rendang

Leanne Kitchen

Rendang was traditionally a ceremonial dish of the west Sumatran Minangkabau people of Indonesia, but it has spread throughout the region and is now associated with Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and broader Indonesia as well. Rendang should be rather dry, and it does take patience to simmer all the liquid until it has disappeared and all that’s left is a pool of oil in which the meat browns, but it’s totally worth the effort. Trust us. Rendang is simply one of the most amazing dishes you will ever eat. Serve with steamed rice.


Quantity Ingredient
1.25kg beef oyster blade, excess fat trimmed and cut into 3.5 cm pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 lemongrass stems, bruised and tied in a knot
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
6 cardamom pods, bruised
8 kaffir lime leaves
750ml coconut milk
70g Grated fresh coconut, toasted

Spice paste

Quantity Ingredient
15 dried red chillies, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, drained
4 large brown shallots, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
4 cm piece fresh galangal, chopped
6 candlenuts, chopped
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
kecap manis, garnished with thinly sliced bird’s eye chilli
Chilli sambal


  1. For the spice paste, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
  2. In a large wok over medium heat, cook the paste and beef in the oil, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until fragrant and the meat is well coated. Add the lemongrass, cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pods, 6 of the kaffir lime leaves, the coconut milk, half the toasted coconut and enough water to just cover the meat. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook for 3–4 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the meat is tender and the liquid is very reduced.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring often to prevent burning, until the meat browns in the residual oil. Take care that the meat does not fall apart – the mixture should be quite dry.
  4. Transfer the beef to a serving dish or bowl. Scatter over the remaining toasted coconut, and serve with the kecap manis and the chilli sambal.
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