Beef rendang

Beef rendang

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy

For the spice paste


Quantity Ingredient
4-6 dried red chillies
4 shallots
4 garlic cloves
3 cm piece fresh root ginger
3 cm piece fresh galangal
3 lemongrass stalks

For the rendang

Quantity Ingredient
75g fresh coconut
900g chuck steak
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 piece cassia bark
or 1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
6 green cardamom pods
300ml coconut milk
2 lemongrass stalks
2 teaspoons palm sugar
6 lime leaves
3 star anise
3 teaspoons tamarind paste
or 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp, soaked in 100 ml water and strained


  1. For the spice paste, soak the dried chillies in boiling water for 15–20 minutes. Halve, peel and coarsely chop the shallots and peel and chop the garlic. Peel and coarsely chop the ginger and galangal. Cut off and discard the green tops and root end from the lemongrass and coarsely chop the tender inner part. Drain the chillies and chop them coarsely.
  2. Using a pestle and mortar or food processor, pound or blend all the paste ingredients together to a smoothish paste, adding a little water if necessary.
  3. For the rendang, grate the coconut finely and, in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, toast until golden. Remove to a bowl and cool.
  4. Trim the excess fat and sinew from the steak, then cut it into 2.5–3 cm chunks.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low to medium heat. Add the cassia bark, star anise, cloves and cardamom pods and cook for 2 minutes, then add the spice paste and cook for a further 2–3 minutes, taking care it doesn’t burn.
  6. Add the beef, stir to coat in the spice paste and cook for 1 minute, then add the coconut milk. Cut off the green tops and root end from the lemongrass. Bruise with the flat side of a large knife to release the flavour and add to the pan with the meat. Add the tamarind paste, sugar, lime leaves and toasted coconut.
  7. Lower the heat, cover and simmer very gently for 2–2½ hours until the meat is tender. Halfway through cooking, remove the lid and reduce a little to a thick sauce that coats the meat. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of water.
  8. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt or sugar. Remove and discard the star anise, cassia and lemongrass. Serve with steamed rice.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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