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Indonesian / Malaysian Beef Rendang



This is an updated version of my beef rendang recipe.

Indonesian / Malaysian Beef Rendang |

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.

Indonesian / Malaysian Beef Rendang

Indonesian / Malaysian Beef Rendang

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Connie Veneracion


  • 1 and 1/2 kilograms stewing beef (I recommend short ribs), cut into 3-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon annatto seeds optional
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass white part only, bruised
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 5 to 6 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup tamarind extract
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut or 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • fish sauce to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

For the spice paste :

  • 1 tablespoon crushed galangal
  • 1 whole garlic bruised and peeled
  • 8 to 10 chilies (I used finger chilis; use bird's eye chilis for a spicier beef rendang), roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 12 shallots roughly chopped
  • 1-inch piece turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In a pan, dry toast the coconut until lightly browned. Set aside.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When the beef rendang is done, taste the sauce once more and add more fish sauce if necessary.
  • Indonesian / Malaysian Beef Rendang
  • To serve, sprinkle with finely sliced onion leaves or cilantro. Serve the beef rendang with hot rice.
  • 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.
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