Rendang Tok Kak Uteh

Grandma’s Rendang

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My Rendang isn't Crispy

My Rendang isn't Crispy

By Zaleha Kadir Olpin

Published 2019

  • About

I learnt to make this rendang from my late sister-in-law, who came from Perak. All the ingredients in this dish are chopped, nothing is blended, except for the dried chilli paste. The first time I saw her making this rendang, I was sceptical and wondered how the flavour of the spices would infuse the meat as everything is chopped. Needless to say, I was very impressed. The rendang was delicious, with the spices coating the meat, and the meat meltingly tender.


  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) beef, roast joint
  • 2 slices asam gelugor
  • 175 g (6 oz) dried chilli paste
  • 1 litre (32 fl oz / 4 cups) coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dark palm sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 110 g (4 oz) toasted grated coconut
  • 2 turmeric leaves, finely sliced

Spice Powders

  • 1 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder

Whole Spices

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods

Fresh Spices

  • 325 g (11 oz) shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 7.5-cm (3-inch) knob galangal, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5-cm (2-inch) knob ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 stalks lemongrass, white part only, thinly sliced


  • Wash, then slice the beef thinly. Set aside.
  • Heat a dry pan and toast the spice powders until fragrant. Rub this mixture all over the sliced beef. Cover and set aside for 4 hours.
  • Place the beef in a large wok and add the whole spices and fresh spices, asam gelugor, dried chilli paste, coconut milk, palm sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for 1 hour. Stir it occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid and the mixture does not burn. After an hour, the beef should be tender and the sauce should have reduced considerably. Simmer for a further 30 minutes, if needed.
  • Add the toasted grated coconut and turmeric leaves. Mix well and let it simmer for another 20 minutes. The gravy should be very thick and almost dry.
  • Serve hot with rice and other dishes.

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