Beef rendang

Beef rendang

The Art Of The Larder
Mike Lusmore

Caramelized spiced beef with coconut milk and toasted coconut shavings – this is an impressive curry to serve alongside sticky or plain rice and a cucumber salad dressed with salt and lime juice. Use beef shin, short rib or cheek instead of braising steak if you like, adding a touch more water as you cook and lengthening the cooking time by an extra 45 minutes or so.


Quantity Ingredient
3 shallots, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
5cm fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4-6 fresh red bird’s-eye chillies
or 1 tablespoon chilli flakes, (or more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 lemongrass stalks, sliced lengthways and bruised slightly with the back of a knife or a rolling pin
6 kaffir lime leaves
2-3 cloves, ground
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
600g braising steak, cut into 3cm cubes
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, (seedless)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon palm sugar, or white sugar
50g coconut flakes or shavings
small bunch fresh coriander, leaves roughly chopped


  1. Blend the shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric and red chillies to a smooth paste.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Over a low heat, gently fry the paste for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, ground cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick. Turn up the heat to moderate and add 100ml of water, then bring to a simmer and gently cook until completely dry and sticky, with all the water absorbed.
  4. Add the beef pieces and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk, tamarind, salt and sugar. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, on a low to moderate heat, until you have a dark brown rich-tasting curry sauce and the beef is tender. Add a tablespoon of water here and there throughout the cooking process if the pan gets too dry. Check for seasoning, adding more salt or sugar to taste.
  5. In a small frying pan over a moderate heat, dry-fry the coconut until it is light brown.
  6. Serve the curry with the toasted coconut and coriander sprinkled over, and with cooked rice on the side.
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