Beef rendang

Beef rendang

Tara Fisher

Rendang is originally from Indonesia, but it’s now popular all over southeast Asia, and I tried it most recently in Singapore. Although many people think it’s a curry, a traditional rendang is really nothing like a curry, but – as with so many dishes – it has been adapted to suit people’s tastes over the years. It is tradionally made with beef, but you can also use chicken, liver, mutton or duck. Add as much chilli to the spice paste as you dare.


Quantity Ingredient

Spice paste:

Quantity Ingredient
150g shallots
3cm piece of fresh galangal
3 lemongrass stalks
5 garlic cloves
3cm piece of fresh ginger
1-2 tablespoons crushed dried chillies, according to taste


Quantity Ingredient
1kg beef shin, boned
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
3 star anise pods
3 cardamom pods
1 lemongrass stalk
6 tablespoons toasted desiccated coconut
400ml coconut milk
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
6 kaffir lime leaves
250ml beef stock
1 lime, juiced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Coconut rice:

Quantity Ingredient
250g basmati rice
150ml coconut milk


  1. To make the spice paste, roughly chop the shallots, galangal, lemongrass, garlic and ginger, then place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse, adding as much water as necessary (about 4–5 tablespoons) to make a fine paste. Remove and set aside.
  2. Cut the beef into 4cm cubes. Heat a heavy-based pan over a medium heat, add half the oil and the beef, in batches if necessary, and cook on all sides until browned, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining oil and the spice paste, fry for 2–3 minutes, then add the cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamom and lemongrass and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Return the browned beef to the pan, along with the toasted desiccated coconut, stir well, then add the coconut milk, tamarind paste, fish and soy sauces, lime leaves and beef stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t stick. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 2 hours, until the meat is tender.
  4. To make the coconut rice, place the rice, coconut milk and 400ml water into a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover and cook for 10–12 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for a couple of minutes before serving.
  5. Meanwhile, remove the lid from the beef and cook for another 15 minutes, until just thickened, then finish by adding the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the coconut rice.
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
slow cooking
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