Beef rendang

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds

    four to six

Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

Serve this big pot of aromatic Malaysian rendang daging with steamed rice and roti bread, warmed in the oven or in a hot pan; or even the famous Malaysian lacy pancakes, roti jala (Pantry). The sauce, even though it is only of coating consistency, is so rich, you really need to treat it as an exotic condiment rather than an excuse to eat beef.


  • 600 g ( lb) topside beef
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 shallots or 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 peeled stalks of lemon grass, sliced
  • 6 dried chillies, soaked and drained
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp tamarind dissolved in 1 tbsp water
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick


Cut beef into bite-sized cubes and set aside.

Heat a dry frypan, add coconut and toast until lightly golden. Pound or blend together the toasted coconut, garlic, shallots or onion, lemon grass, drained chillies, ginger, turmeric, salt and sugar until you have a paste.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed frypan. Add paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until fragrant. Add beef and Stir-fry for 5 minutes, until it changes colour. Add coconut milk, water, tamarind water, star anise and cinnamon stick and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer over gentle heat, uncovered, for 1½ hours, until the sauce has almost cooked away, and the beef is dark and tender. Add a little water if it dries out, but the sauce should really only coat the meat.