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Beef Rendang

Introduction & method

Beef rendang is very popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and other south-east Asian states, and there are many variations on it. This one is closely based on the recipe in 'One Pot', the new cookbook by Dan Toombs aka The Curry Guy.

Beef Rendang Recipe

Make Rendang Paste

If you prefer to buy ready-made paste, do so. If you enjoy a bit more work when you're cooking, do this. Soak the dried chillies in water for 20 minutes. Smash, roughly chop or slice the paste ingredients as appropriate. Put them all in a blender and add the water from the chillies. Whizz to a smooth-ish paste.

Prep the Coconut

You may be able to buy ready-made toasted coconut flakes - kerisik. If you can't find ready-made, use dried coconut flakes. Break them into small slivers and toast them in a dry pan, being careful not to burn them.

Make the Curry

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot, wok, frying pan or casserole. When hot, stir in the whole spices and let them infuse for about 30 seconds. Add the rendang paste and cook for a minute. Add the beef and get it browned all over - if you are using steak you'll need to cut it into chunks first. Thinly slice the lemongrass and add that. Cook for about 5 minutes then add the coconut milk and water. If the liquid doesn't cover everything, add more water. Stir in the tamarind, the toasted coconut, the sugar and the torn-up lime leaves. Simmer for 90 minutes, or until the beef is very tender. Add salt and more sugar if required.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Beef Rendang on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 4 shallots
 3 cloves garlic
  2½ cm (1 inch) galangal or ginger
 2 lime leaves
 1-2 stalks lemongrass
 8 small dried red chillies
 800 grams beef short rib
 400 ml can of thick coconut milk
 70 ml coconut or rapeseed (canola) oil
 1 cinnamon stick
 two star anise
 4 cloves
 4 cardamom pods
 1-2 stalks lemongrass
 250 ml water
 1½ tsp tamarind paste
 6 tbsp toasted coconut (kerisik)
 1 tsp palm sugar (or demerara sugar)
 5 lime leaves
  salt to taste
 1 tbsp sliced red chilli
 1 tbsp sliced spring onion (scallion)


For the beef you can use braising steak or similar if you can't get short ribs.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 2 -4
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 90 minutes.
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes.