Beef Rendang the Indonesian way

Here’s an amazing dish that I’ve made a couple of times since the first time a few months ago. I ate this dish for the first time in Kuala Lumpur last year in one of the millions of food halls in some mega shopping mall. Sorry can’t tell you the names of either the shopping mall or the food court. I’ve got no knack for names and especially before the blog I never had a need to.

Yes it takes ages and ages-the recommended slow cooking time is about 4 hours. But it is well worth it!! It tastes even better the day after. And I must say the succulent flavours of the meat and the spices knocked me out of my culinary taste-buds! I don’t think I’ve had any beef dish that was soooo delicious for a very long time. Our Bengali beef curries are also very, very delicious if cooked well. But this is so different from what I knew before!!

This recipe is from one of my favourite foodie blogs:

After the initial stage in the wok I transferred the dish into a pot because I don’t have a fitting lid for the wok. Also for long slow cooking a pot is much better. Ideally one with a heavy bottom or cast iron. I don’t have either in my new kitchen here 🙂 !

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Beef Rendang


1kg beef – I used meat with almost 20 % visible fat because I find the beef tastes better with the fat

2 ½ teaspoons of roasted whole coriander seeds ground in a mortar & pestle

1 inch piece of fresh turmeric root washed and cut into disks or ½ level teaspoon turmeric powder

1 small bulb of garlic peeled

5 large shallots  chopped

1 inch slice of fresh ginger root washed and cut into disks

1 inch piece of galangal peeled and cut into disks

2 stalks lemongrass white part only cut into inch long bits then crushed with flat of the knife

5 kaffir lime leaves

12 Thai chillies stalk removed

8 dried mexican chillies dry roasted in pan for 1 minute then chopped

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

100g of freshly grated coconut to make the coconut milk or 1 tin of coconut milk (330ml)

2 teaspoons palm sugar


1. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric root, shallots, galangal, ground coriander, Thai chillies, dried Mexican chillies, salt and ½ cup of water into a bleeder and blend until a uniform paste. Add more water if needed.

2. Add the oil into a pan with the lime leaves and lemongrass stalks on a medium high heat. Let the oil heat up and then add the beef in batches and fry for a few minutes until the  surface browns. Remove the beef with the lemongrass and lime leaves into a separate bowl.

3. Leave the oil in the pan, turn down the heat to medium and add the blended spice mix. Stir constantly. Heat for 10-15 minutes or until the moisture has evaporated.

4. Add the coconut milk and palm sugar into the pot, stir and then add the beef, lime leaves and lemongrass.

5. Stir, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid leaving a tiny gap for the steam to escape.

6. Check and stir occasionally. After about 4 hours the meat should be tender and most of the liquid evaporated.  Remove the lid, turn up the heat stirring constantly to stop it burning. Any remaining liquid should be evaporated without burning the meat.

7. There will be oil from the meat concentrated at the bottom of the pan. The meat is fried in the high heat in this oil to concentrate the flavors.

8. The rending is ready when the meat is dark brown and there is almost no sauce left. Ideally the dish should sit overnight for the spices and flavor to really come out.

9. Serve with steamed rice and die with the deliciousness of the beef melting on the tongue with all the flavours and richness added of the creamy coconut milk :-)!


In the original recipe no water is used to blend but the blasted spice mix stuck to the side after 0.1 seconds and  steadfastly refused to go anywhere near the blade of the blender. So I decided instead of shouting obscenities, jumping up and down in anger and the throwing the blender off the balcony… I’d just add some water. And it worked out fine. The spice mix took a little longer to fry because of the water but that didn’t matter!

Categories: Beef, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Beef Rendang the Indonesian way

  1. Omg this looks amazing!

  2. It is!!! If you lived around the corner I’d cook it and invite you for dinner!! 🙂

  3. Really nice. I may make it with Caribou meat 🙂

  4. This looks great! I loved the food in Kalimantan (though it was usually fish and sambal) and can’t wait to try this this weekend using moose.

  5. I think Indonesia and Bangladesh shares a similar culinary trait, especially with dishes from Western Sumatera where coconut milk and curry is among the most used ingredients; just like this Rendang. And yes, it tastes good after a day, or two, if it could last that long 😀

    • Many countries around Asia share culinary similarities. It’s such a great adventure to learn and try new food!! I love Indonesian food! Thanks!

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