Beef rendang curry

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

Beef rendang is not strictly Balinese, for they’re all Hindu, and Hindus don’t eat their cows. This one is more popular throughout the rest of the Indonesian islands - where buffalo is bunged into the pot. I don’t expect you to find it - and beef works a treat here. A fabulous and easy curry. Leave it overnight, and things can only get better.


  • 1 kg stewing steak, cut into large chunks
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 x 400 ml cans coconut milk
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves


  • 6 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cm piece fresh galangal, sliced
  • 4 sticks lemongrass
  • 4 hot red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • salt


Pound together the marinade ingredients to make a coarse paste - or briefly blast in a processor. Rub this paste all over the beef, then leave refrigerated overnight.

Scrape off most of the paste and keep on one side. Fry the steak (in batches) in the oil in a casserole pan until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan and reserve. Put the coconut milk in a pan, bring to a boil, then slip the steak in with the reserved marinade gubbins and stir. Chuck in the lime leaves, then partially cover the pan and very gently stew for 2-2 ½ hours or more, until the liquid has reduced and the beef is nice and tender. You must keep stirring though, or else it will catch and burn. It’s safer to pop it in the oven (something around 160°C/325°F/Gas 3), with a lid - but leave it askew, for the sauce must reduce - and give it a stir through every now and then. Add a dash of water if things get too dry before the beef is done. It gets even better if now left overnight and then reheated - with a dash more of the coconut milk or water - the next day. Eat with rice.