Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang is a popular dish found in both Indonesian and Malaysian, hence you will find many variations to the recipe. It has a wonderful spicy flavour, and like a lot of curries, develops its taste of left for a day or two after preparation.

The curry is cooked slowly until all the liquid is absorbed and you have a dry curry with melt in the mouth meat. Be warned it also very spicy so if you like it milder simply remove the seeds from the chillies and use less chillies in the paste.

4 to 6 Portions
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 2 hours



  • 1kg brisket or stewing beef, cut into 3-4cm cubes


  • 8 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (white part only), roughly chopped
  • 30g ginger, peeled and roughly copped
  • 8 large red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1-3 tbsp water (to help puree)

To Cook

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (800ml)
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste soaked in 100ml boiling water (seeds discarded)
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar
  • 100g desiccated coconut, toasted in a dry wok or frying pan
  • 1 lemongrass stalks, bruised with the side of a knife
  • 5 lime leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • generous pinch salt

To Serve

  • 3 lime leaves, very finely shredded
  • 1 large red, deseeded and finely chopped
  • steamed rice


  1. Paste: Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor and blend adding 1-3 tbsp of water just enough to help puree fine paste. Set aside.
  2. To Cook: Heat the oil in a wok or a heavy based casserole or saucepan over a moderate high heat. Add the spice paste and fry for a couple of minutes stirring until aromatic.
  3. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Stir in the coconut milk, tamarind water and all the remaining cooking ingredients. Stir until all the ingredients are well distributed (the beef should be covered in coconut milk if not add a little water). Reduce the heat to moderate and bring to a strong simmer. Reduce to a low heat and leave to gently simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally for even cooking.
  4. After 1 1/2 hours the sauce should have become fairly thick, for the final 30 minutes of cooking you will need to stir regularly so that the meat and sauce don’t burn.
  5. At the end of 2 hours cooking the sauce should be very thick and the beef tender. Remove the lemongrass, cinnamon and lime leaves. Serve.
  6. To Serve: Scatter over shredded lime leaves and finely chopped chilli. Accompany with steamed rice.