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Beef rendang recipe

Beef rendang recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Cuts of beef
  • Steak
  • Stewing steak

A subtly spiced Indonesian beef rendang curry that you can make from scratch without the need for ready made curry paste or packet sauces!

51 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 750g beef stewing steak, cubed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
  • grated zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 200ml of water
  • 200ml coconut cream
  • Rendang curry paste
  • 3 shallots, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, seeded, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (3cm piece) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:3hr ›Ready in:3hr20min

  1. Make the rendang curry paste: In a food processor or blender, combine the shallots, chillies, garlic, ginger, turmeric and peanut butter. Puree until it becomes a thick and somewhat smooth paste.
  2. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the meat in batches until brown on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Using the same pan, gently fry the curry paste for a few minutes. Add the beef back in. Stir in lime zest, stock cube, water and coconut cream; stir well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid but not completely to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Simmer gently for 3 hours, or until sauce has thickened and beef is tender.
  4. Serve with lime wedges, white rice and green vegetables.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(13)

Reviews in English (5)

I liked it but probably won't make again. It separated into an oily slick and just seemed so full of fat. I had to add much more water to stop it from sticking to the pan. Maybe using coconut milk rather than cream would have been better?-11 Apr 2017

Really tasty and went down very well with the family. It took me quite a bit longer to prep this, but that is is because I am a real beginner at cooking.-10 Jan 2017

Very tasty I did like it but my husband said it was the best thing I have ever made so think I will be making it again-30 Oct 2015

Malaysian Beef Rendang Recipe

As a general rule, hubby is the curry chef in our household. He cooks quite often and when he does it’s either spicy or it’s slow cooked or both and I’m not complaining one little bit. He’s a great cook and it also gives me a break from cooking now and then since I do quite a lot of it.

Beef Rendang Ingredients

  • Shallots, chopped , chopped (or use spicy red chilies, or milder peppers for less heat)
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Fresh chopped ginger (or use dried)
  • Fresh chopped galangal (or use dried)
  • Ffresh chopped turmeric (or use dried)
  • Black peppercorns, crushed
  • Cloves
  • Oil as needed
  • Boneless beef chuck
  • Thick coconut milk
  • Kaffir lime leaves (use bay leaves as an alternative)
  • Lemongrass, bottom half only, smashed with a spoon
  • Cinnamon
  • Palm sugar (or use brown sugar)
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh sliced lime leaves or chopped herbs, spicy chili flakes, crispy fried shallots

The key ingredients

Contrary to what some recipes suggest, to make the best rendang you need good quality and fat-free beef meat. Beef chunks of topside, shin, or brisket are the popular option for the dish.

Because of its long slow-cooking process, even the hard beef shin will become meltingly tender. And the spicy coconut milk will make the meat deliciously juicy.

You can also use lamb or goat meat or chicken for rendang. If you use lamb or goat meat, you can cook exactly the same way as the beef rendang.

As for the chicken rendang, you would want to cut down the coconut milk to half. And you may have to cook it half time and leave it with the gravy as it will break the chicken to pieces if you cook it too long.


The spices you need to make Indonesian beef rendang are ground cumin, ground coriander, chillies, and galangal.

Note that in Indonesia, people use fresh red chillies and fresh galangal root.

But to simplify and make things more practical, I use the dried red chilli powder. And you can use the dried galangal root or the ready-pasted in a jar. I have cooked with these alternatives, the results were the same. The rendang tasted equally delicious.


As for herbs, you will need ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and turmeric leaf.

Now, for the latter one, it may be tricky and hard to get. Because it is not available at the regular Asian shops or at Chinatown.

So you may have to order online. But please try your best to get hold of this uniquely fragrant leaf. And if you can only find the one in powder form, make sure it’s Turmeric leaf powder. You can put ½ teaspoon of turmeric leaf powder for this recipe.

However, if you find it impossible to get it, I would say that you still can make good beef rendang. Although the aroma may slightly be different.

Coconut milk

Perhaps I should put this coconut milk as the number two ingredient after the meat. Because without coconut milk, your rendang will not be rendang. But then again, without the right spices and herbs, the case will be the same too.

So yeah, coconut milk is definitely a must. You can make your own coconut milk like the olden days. If you want to, here is how to make your own coconut milk:

  1. Finely grate one coconut using a food grater or food processor.
  2. Put ½ cup of water in the coconut, using your hand, try to mix and squeeze the coconut and the water until you can see the liquid looks white and creamy. The first water you put in the coconut is the one that can give you the thickest and richest milk. So you would want to mix and squeeze for a bit.
  3. Then squeeze the grated coconut over a sieve with a bowl underneath for the coconut milk. Do so until all the liquid has pretty much gone from the coconut.
  4. When the coconut feels dry, repeat the steps 2 and 3 for three times.

What makes Beef Rendang so special?

In my opinion, it’s the combination of spices and aromatics and the low and slow cooking. Galangal, ginger, lemongrass – these 3 aromatics alone are enough to spike any recipe. But add to that, we have coconut milk as well as the toasty and caramel-like kerisik.

Folks, this is foodie heaven, I’m tellin’ ya!

Kerisik is dry toasted desiccated coconut. Click here to read more about it as well as a link to my YouTube video showing you how to make it.

The result is a creamy, yet full-bodied, potent, and highly perfumed dish that will enslave you from your very first mouthful.

Tip 3: Use cuts of beef that are good for slow-cooking Photo: John Paul Urizar


  • 30 gm desiccated coconut
  • 30 gm ginger, finely chopped
  • 20 gm galangal, finely chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (white part only), finely chopped
  • 8 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 6 golden shallots, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 30 gm turmeric, finely chopped
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 700 gm beef oyster blade, cut into 5cm cubes
  • 425 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • To serve: steamed long-grain rice and steamed Asian greens



Note By all means increase the number of chillies to suit your taste. And for extra flavour, you can tie the stalk of the lemongrass into a knot and add it at step 6.

Reviews ( 24 )

I love this dish. Made if for the 2nd time tonight, and after the 1.5hrs covered I simmered very low uncovered for an additional 1.5-2 hrs. This got the sauce to a thicker consistency, but I actually wish I had more sauce! I may try cooking the initial 1.5hrs uncovered next time, though I think the long low and slow cooking makes the meat delicious and tender. I make it spicier by adding extra chili garlic sauce and an extra serrano. Delicious!!

My family loved this. I cooked it for a little over an hour covered and then removed the cover and cooked it for another hour before adding the coconut mixture and continuing to cook. The sauce was not thick, but there was just the right amount to serve in bowls over rice. I served stir fried, then steamed broccoli along side. 1 Serrano chili added the correct amount of heat. I may try making it in a crockpot in the future.

Let me preface my review by saying that I have no idea what Malaysian food tastes like, so I didn't know what to expect from this dish. With that said, I absolutely loved it from the first go around. I've made it for years now from this same recipe, and it is one of my recipe keepers. I've even made large batches to take to dinner only to find it had run out with rave reviews. It's very flavorful, reminiscent of Southeast Asian curries. And, like other reviewers noted, it doesn't reduce or thicken as much, making it more like a soup poured over rice than a curry. If you live in a metropolitan area, the trickier ingredients like lemongrass stalks can be readily found at an Asian food store plus you'll probably find the shallots and other ingredients there cheaper. And you can tweak the spice easily by using a jalapeno or reducing the amount of serrano. All in all one of the best recipes I've gotten from Cooking Light. Thank you, Lia Huber!

I really liked this, however, my husband did not like the citrus.

I agree too much liquid, but it's so tasty that this is ok with me!

Outstanding!! Yes it took longer to bring down the level of broth, but the broth is sooo good - who cares. I used my rice to soak it up.

The lemongrass and lime really added nice bright citrus flavors to this dish. After smelling it cooking for 2 hours I was too impatient and hungry to wait for the sauce to reduce down, so I just went ahead and dished it up. I will definitely make this again even though I'm the only one in the house who will eat it (boyfriend freaks out at the thought of coconut).

This tasted great and I added two serrano chili's. I also had to simmer for longer and added some cornstarch to make the sauce thicker. Very good, though.

I really liked this dish. You obviously need to like curry's to start with. I decided to do it in the crock pot and made a small change based on other comments. I followed the directions as is up to the step of adding the coconut milk to the shallot mixture. I cooked it for a minute and made sure it was well combined. Then I took it off the heat to cool a bit. I added the meat to the crock pot and tossed it with one tbsp of flour to help the sauce thicken up. I then added the shallot/coconut mixture to the crock-pot and the next five ingredients. I only used one cup of broth. Mixed it well. I cooked it for a total of ten hours on low and at the six hour mark I added the coconut paste. This long cooking broke down the meat and made a thick sauce. We had it over basmati rice. What was funny is that my husband wanted more sauce! So next time I will add the full amount of broth. It was delicious and even better the next day.

I am addicted to this beef. Seriously, I would eat it every day if it wasn't too hot to have the stove going for hours right now. I always make it exactly as written, and the other reviewers are right, it does require more simmering at the end to get the liquid down. I would make this for company in a heartbeat, it's as good as any restaurant meal I've had.

Loved this recipe! The flavors are unique and complex and blend together wonderfully. I followed the recipe except I cooked it longer I think just because of the liquid. The beef was tender and the extra cooking time didn't matter a bit. I think it's great for special occasions, maybe a bit too time consuming for every day dinner but that's what I made it for. I added a little cilantro on top of mine, can't remember if that's in the recipe or not. It was really delicious and definitely restaurant quality. It would impress guests I think.

We loved this recipe and it reminded us of our trip to Bali a couple of years ago. We pretty much followed the recipe as is and yes, there was a lot of liquid at the end and we needed to simmer it for longer than 10 minutes. But it's not like the extra simmer time hurts the meat and it wasn't a big deal to us at all. We were impressed to find such great, authentic flavors without candlenuts, galangal or kaffir lime leaves. We loved it and will definitely be making it again!

LOVE THIS. My husband called it "restaurant quality." Literally one of the best things I've ever made. I cooked it a long time- I didn't keep track- but probably longer than the recipe called for. So good, we fought over the leftovers!

I made this recipe for the third time last night. The first time was a disaster! The meat was Way too tough, and I am not a novice cook. My husband suggested we try it in the pressure cooker. and WOW! What a difference! This is the perfect pressure cooker recipe! No need to add extra liquid, but we did add a little cornstarch to thicken before serving. We used 2 serranos and it was really hot (how we like it), so only use 1 if you don't like heat. Also we used prepared lemongrass instead of fresh. I think another's suggestion of using a slow cooker sounds interesting too. Very delicious recipe!

Delicious with rich flavors but on the hot side. I used one serrano chile and my husband loved it but it was too hot for guests. Will definitely make it again just as it is.

My husband and I really enjoyed the flavors of this dish. It does need extra time than the recipe states but I'd say it was fairly easy to make. Maybe making in a slow cooker would make it 5 stars. I wouldn't change any of the ingredients though.

I used skin and boneless chicken thighs instead of beef. All other ingredients were followed exactly. I agree, it did take some time for the liquid to condense. Keeping this in mind, this dish is not recommended as a week day meal. The result was very authentic. WOW I will look forward to making it again.

I gave this recipe two stars because major modifications need to be made to the recipe for it to come out like the picture. I followed the recipe exactly and had the same problems the other reviewers had (I wish I had read them before I made it!). This is definitely a weekend meal since stew beef needs to be cooked low and slow. I will have to tinker with the recipe to figure out what changes to make, but there is far too much liquid. Just looking at the recipe I could tell 10 mins was insufficient time to reduce the liquid, but decided to go against my gut and follow the recipe. It tasted good, but there was just way too much sauce.

Taste-wise, this is a decent dish that nonetheless is more reminiscent of a Vietnamese wet curry than actual rendang. Although rendang recipes do vary in terms of the seasoning paste and the cooking methods, the main problem here is that the texture is WAY off, which isn’t forgivable. This recipe produces a very soup-y curry and does not come out looking anything like the picture, which is what a rendang should look like. This wasn’t entirely a shock – other folks have pointed this out in their reviews and a quick look at the liquid proportions of this recipe, combined with covered low-temp cooking, suggests that this is NOT going to reduce down to what is shown. I can only assume that the way to get the thick, concentrated sauce I’ve had in other rendangs is to cook the dish UNCOVERED, or maybe brown the meat, remove it, add the spice paste, add the milk and stock, then reduce it by about half, then put in the beef for 90 minutes, and simmer covered. I’ll probably try it again using one of those methods because there’s some potential here and outside of the long simmer-time, prep is pretty easy for this one. It should also be noted that after trimming the fat off a 2-lb boneless chuck roast from Whole Foods, I was left with about a pound of meat, meaning that this recipe more accurately makes about three servings. Maybe next time I’ll go with blade steak.

Beef rendang: an introduction

Perhaps one of the most popular beef dishes in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore , traditional beef rendang is a fragrant concoction of fresh lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, ginger and chilli cooked in coconut milk with a variety of spices and a slow-cooking cut of beef like chuck steak or shin. Occasionally, lamb or chicken may be used instead.

The origins of beef rendang lie in west Sumatra, Indonesia, where the Minang ethnic tribe cook this coconut-infused stew to welcome visitors and mark ceremonial occasions like Hari Raya (the Muslim festival of Eid).

While most curries consist of chunks of meat and/or veg swimming in sauce, beef rendang is a dry, somewhat stodgy curry. As the spicy sauce reduces and browns in colour, it transforms into a thick, flavoursome paste which embraces each tender chunk of beef. As the slow-cooked meat falls apart into tender flakes, this pungent paste clings to each shred and eventually becomes dotted throughout the rice.

Loving the look of @TheRareWelshBit's Melt-in-your-mouth Malaysian Beef Rendang! #malaysianfood #slowcooking Click to Tweet

This isn&rsquot the quickest dish to prepare and you&rsquoll probably need to put some legwork in to hunt down some of the Asian ingredients. Try your local Asian supermarkets if you don&rsquot have any joy at the supermarket. Time and ingredients aside, however, beef rendang is fairly easy to prepare. Although it takes longer to cook the beef in a slow cooker as opposed to on the hob, this method enables you to simply leave the rendang bubbling away in the kitchen while you get on with your day.

If you haven&rsquot got a slow cooker, you can follow this recipe in a large heavy-based pan with a lid on the hob, but reduce the cooking time to around 2-3 hours. You might need to add a little water (as slow cooking uses less liquid) and you&rsquoll need to spend more time slaving over the stove to stir the pot occasionally as the stew simmers away. However, the advantage of cooking beef rendang on the hob is that you don&rsquot have to bother with transferring the mixture to and from the slow-cooker to brown off the meat and reduce the sauce.

However, I highly recommend investing in a slow cooker as they&rsquore extremely affordable and safe to use and there&rsquos nothing better than arriving home to a hot, home-cooked meal with minimal effort at the end of a long, tiring day. I absolutely love my 3.5-litre retro Swan slow cooker, which has three heat settings and a removable ceramic pot. At the moment, it&rsquos selling for less than £30 on Amazon, so it&rsquos a great investment for your kitchen.

While there are many variations on beef rendang, with most families tweaking the recipe to suit their own tastes, this particular version was kindly shared with me by Head Chef, Teddy Ibau at Sukau Rainforest Lodge in Sabah, Malaysia &ndash one of the National Geographic&rsquos highly-acclaimed Unique Lodges of the World.

I stayed at Sukau Rainforest Lodge while on a press trip with Sabah Tourism and Royal Brunei Airlines. Expect more blog posts about my time in Sabah over the next few weeks but in the meantime, as we&rsquore all stuck at home on lockdown, I thought this would be the perfect time to share Teddy&rsquos beef rendang recipe with you!

Sukau Rainforest Lodge is perched on the Kinabatangan River in Sabah, Malaysia

Teddy began working at Sukau Rainforest Lodge in 2018 with over a decade of culinary experience under his belt, including a stint as Executive Chef at World Trade Hotel, Shanxi and various roles at five-star hotels including Shangri La in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.

Head Chef, Teddy Ibau at Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Beef Rendang

In a food processor, combine the shallots, lemongrass, jalapeños and ginger and puree until smooth. Add the crushed red pepper, nutmeg and cloves and pulse to combine. Scrape the paste into a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven. Add the coconut milk, cinnamon stick, lime leaves and 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar and season lightly with salt.

Add the beef to the casserole and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid is nearly evaporated and the meat is tender and deep mahogany, about 2 hours. As the mixture cooks, scrape up any bits that are stuck to the sides and bottom. The fat will separate out when the liquid is nearly evaporated and the meat is tender. Spoon off as much fat as possible and keep warm.

In a medium skillet, heat the canola oil. Add the peanuts and cook over moderate heat just until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and cook, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Pour the peanuts onto a plate to cool, then break them apart. Transfer the rendang to bowls and garnish with the peanuts. Serve with steamed rice and lime wedges.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ's)

I am using Beef steak which I chopped into smaller pieces to help cook the meat faster. But, you can use beef ribs, round or brisket if you like.

You can use chicken, duck, boneless fish, or lamb for this dish. They all taste delicious.

We serve with either white rice or coconut rice which is common in Southeast Asian cuisines. Furthermore, I recommend serving with other vegetables side dishes like sliced cucumber, chayote, or kangkong. Just make sure chayote or kangkong are cooked before serving.

If you use water, the taste will be weaker and the beef might not be browned or fried well. You want to make your beef dark and brown and this is possible by using the oil release from the coconut milk.

This recipe can last in the fridge for up to 5 days. Also, the beef tends to taste better the next day because of the spices.

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