Beef rendang, a savory and spicy stew |

Beef rendang, a savory and spicy stew

This is an updated version of my beef rendang recipe.

A traditional dish in Malaysia, beef rendang traces its origins from the Minangkabau ethnic group of the highlands of Western Sumatra in Indonesia.

Beef rendang is everything that a stew should be. It has a thick and well textured sauce, a warm color and all the savory goodness that makes you want to pour the sauce all over your rice to make the most of it.

Recipe: Beef rendang


  • 1-1/2 k. of stewing beef (I recommend short ribs), cut into 3-inch cubes
  • 4 tbsps. of vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp. of annatto seeds, optional
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass, white part only, bruised
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 5 to 6 c. of coconut milk
  • 1/4 c. of tamarind extract
  • 1/2 c. of dessicated coconut or 1 c. freshly grated coconut
  • fish sauce, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. of sugar
  • For the spice paste :
  • 1 tbsp. of crushed galangal
  • 1 whole garlic, bruised and peeled
  • 8 to 10 chili peppers (I used finger chilis; use bird”?s eye chilis for a spicier beef rendang), roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. of coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp. of black peppercorns
  • 12 shallots (i.e., sibuyas Tagalog), roughly chopped
  • a piece of turmeric, about an inch cube
  • 1/2 tsp. of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. of ground nutmeg


  1. First, make the spice paste. Grind the ingredients (with a mortar and pestle, a food processor or blender) until they turn into a thick paste.
  2. Place the beef cubes in a large shallow bowl or baking tray and pour the spice paste oven them. Work the paste into the meat and allow to marinate in the fridge for an hour.
  3. In a pan, dry toast the coconut until lightly browned. Set aside.
  4. Pour the cooking oil into heavy pot. Turn on the heat to medium. Add the annatto seeds. Stir the annatto seeds in the oil until they render color. You can skip this part altogether but the annatto seeds give the beef rendang better color.
  5. Turn up the heat to high. In the hot oil, add the chopped onion, lemongrass and cinnamon sticks. Cook, stirring, until the onion starts to soften. Add the beef with the marinade. Cook the beef over high heat until the marinade turns a bit thick.
  6. Pour in the coconut milk and tamarind extract; add the sugar. Add the toasted coconut and kaffir lime leaf. Stir. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the beef is very tender. Remember to stir occasionally and scrape the bottom of the pot as the sauce thickens considerably during cooking and the coconut may stick to the bottom.
  7. Halfway through cooking, taste the sauce and add fish sauce to balance the flavors. If the liquid dries up before the beef is done, add water little by little, about half a cup each time.
  8. When the beef is done, taste the sauce once more and add more fish sauce if necessary.
  1. To serve, sprinkle with finely sliced onion leaves or cilantro. Serve the beef rendang with hot rice.
  2. If you like your beef rendang dry, during the last 15 minutes of cooking, turn up the heat to medium and cook uncovered, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Preparation time: 1 hour(s) 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 3 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6


  1. peterb says

    I first had Beef Rendang at Longrain in Rockwell. I was hesitant at first because i was told it was spicy. I really enjoyed that meal, i couldn’t stop eating it even if it was spicy! I’ve been staring at your Beef Randang pics, and i getting an appetite for something spicy! Most of the recipes i’ve seen about Beef Rendang involve a ready made paste from the grocery. You’re right, it does seem laborious but i think i’m up to the challenge :)

    I think i have all the ingredients except for turmeric (sayang, saw some last Friday), will regular ginger work? Also, i only have dried galangal, will that work? Thanks Connie!

  2. Marie says

    Hi Connie! I am an amateur cook and I really love your sites. I will try your beef rendang one of these days because the dish sure looks delicious. I have a question on the procedure. When do I add the 2 T of sugar? Thanks and more power

  3. Emily says

    Hi Connie,

    I am a Malaysian who frequently visit your site,love ’em! Your Rendang recipe is authenic, except for the addition of annatto seeds, but i fully aggree that it does give the dish a better colour. Rendang is quite a tough dish to master actually,
    Kudos to you, Connie!

  4. Kathy Galang says

    My husband loves rendang very much. We had this sought after carinderia who was also catering to the Indonesians in our neighborhood (university area.) It was from “Ate Baby” that we had our first taste of this yummy dish. Being an amateur cook, we usually just buy our ulam everyday. But ate moved away so I had to learn to cook hahaha. With some trial and error, I can say I pretty much got it right :)

    I was just happy to see it featured here on your blog. Have been an avid reader for 2 years now ever since I got married and decided to try honing my cooking skills for the family. More power to you Ate Connie! I’m always inspired by the dishes that you feature here.

  5. Pooja says


    made the beef rendang exactly according to your recipe. It came out rocking awesome! The final look of the dish is a lot like Indian/Pakistani stews but the flavour is entirely its own. Thanks for a keeper.

  6. Lucy says

    hi connie..ask ko lang po.. ano po ba dapat lasa nito…hot, sweet… di ko kasi ma explain eh lol. I cooked it the other day I still have some until today – I did some revisions though like yong chili i only put 6pcs kasi di ako mahilig sa spicy masyado and I didnt have nutmeg grrr so i put ground nuts (sigh) other than that sinunod ko yong sayo. Still, am wondering really ano ba dapat lasa nya although masarap sya talaga!! Thanks.

  7. maty says

    hi ms.connie,help nman,san ba ako makakabile ng kaffir,or pwede na bang wala nito…tnx

  8. ruby says

    Hi Connie,

    I really love your sites…

    Quick question: where do i get Tamarind Extract? Or does this mean I have to make from scratch?


  9. brenda says

    hi connie, i really like your site and everyday i check your site.. I just want to know where can i buy the galagal?

  10. Trisha says

    hmm.. yummy! i’m based in indonesia, i usually cook this but i just use the instant rendang seasoning. matrabaho eh. :) which reminds me, i might just search for a cooked beef rendang for dinner.

  11. Che Yap says

    Hi Connie! i finally made this rendang recipe and my hubby loved it! felt like we were in singapore when i pan fried some frozen roti pratha with butter =) yuuuummmm….. and all thanks to you! =)

  12. ace says

    Hi Ms Connie. Can I pressure cook the beef instead of boiling them? I dont want to wait for 3 hours hehehe=)

  13. maruh says

    Hello ms.connie!
    i made your beef rendang for our halloween party and it was always a big hit! pati ang sauce sobrang ubos! they’re asking for the recipe of it! can i re-post your link on my blog? some of friends wont eat spicy food and they’re requesting if i could make it without anghang next time. i am wondering if it will be as good without chilis pero i’ll try next time to figure it out what it’ll taste like. thanks so much and more power! and more recipesss!!!!!

  14. says

    I think you have to rehydrate the dried galangal in a little warm water. Otherwise, just use ginger. We just had the leftover for lunch, only 3 pieces left, but my goodness it was even tastier than it was last night! My daughter’s friend is here, had lunch with us and of the three ulam (pork and bok choy stir fry, mongo gisado and the beef rendang), she only praised the rendang. :)

  15. says

    You can omit it. Won’t taste and smell the same though. I heard you can buy them in jars, I just don’t know where.

  16. says

    Wow. I just saw this post while checking out your website.

    I actually made this dish last night, with one difference. I brought home some rendang mix from NYC, and it turned out really nicely. My problem with living in Dumaguete and cooking is that there’s a dearth of suppliers for spices that would normally be easily available to me when I lived in NYC. :-(

    But, thanks for the recipe! When my rendang boxes run out, I will hunt down these ingredients and make authentic rendang from scratch!