Best Beef Rendang

Who doesn’t love a good curry?  But rather than the classic kormas and tame tikkas, have a bash at a simple but rewarding rendang, slow cooked to perfection.

A little bit of love is needed with this one but I promise it is absolutely worth the effort.

Beef Rendang

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

  • 10 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 cardamon pods
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 red chillis, seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • Thumb size piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 200g roughly chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 kg beef chuck, cut into big chunks
  • Ground nut oil for frying
  • 2 tins coconut milk
  • Soy sauce
  • Palm sugar
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Chopped coriander leaves to serve
  • Good quality salt flakes


  1. Heat a wok over a medium heat and toast the desiccated coconut until golden and fragrant before setting aside for serving.
  2. Toast the cloves, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and star anise until popping, before grinding down with a generous pinch of sea salt to a powder in a pestle and mortar.
  3. Blitz up the garlic, chilli, ginger, red onion, tumeric and lemongrass with a splash of water to create your rendang paste.
  4. Season up the beef chuck generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat up your wok nice and high with some ground nut oil and fry off the beef (in batches if necessary) until there is nice caramelised colour on all the pieces.
  6. Pour in your paste and stir really well for a minute to coat everything.
  7. Sprinkle over the ground spices and stir again really well for a minute or two.
  8. Add both cans of coconut milk and de-glaze the pan before lowering the heat.
  9. Add a splash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of palm sugar.
  10. Let the curry gently bubble away for over an hour, stirring every so often. Consistency is to everyone’s taste, some like this curry dry and concentrated, some prefer a good thick sauce. It is up to you! I would recommend taking this to the brink of being dry over about 90 minutes, so it becomes rich and concentrated.
  11. Squeeze in the lime juice (you can use tamarind but limes are a bit more flexible and won’t go to waste). Combine and cook out until the consistency is as desired.
  12. You can mix in your desiccated coconut now or leave to garnish alongside the coriander. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve with steamed rice and some Indian spiced stir fried vegetables.

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