Beef Rendang


  • 2 lb / 900 g flank or shin of beef in a piece
  • 4–5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2–3 (or more to taste) red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 in / 2.5 cm fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1Β½ pt / 850 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tsp freshly grated turmeric root or 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp freshly grated galangal root or Β½ tsp dried galangal
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1–2 lemon grass stalks, shredded salt


Cut the beef into 2 in / 5 cm chunks, removing any excess fat and gristle. Grind the garlic, onions, chillies and ginger together into a paste. Stir the meat into this paste and put it all in a heavy saucepan, deep frying pan or wok. Cover with coconut milk, and stir in the turmeric and galangal. Add the bay leaf and the lemon grass, bring to the boil, and simmer, uncovered, for 1Β½ to 2 hours. You can start to season the meat with salt towards the end of this cooking time, but use a light hand since the stew has to cook until almost dry.

If you have cooked it so far in a saucepan, transfer the stew to a frying pan or wok, and continue cooking. By now you will have quite a dark, fragrant stew with the oil beginning to separate out from the coconut milk in which the meat has cooked. Cook for a further 20–30 minutes, stirring fairly frequently to stop the stew from catching, until the oil and liquid have almost all been reabsorbed into the meat. Serve with plain boiled rice or rice cooked in coconut milk. This dry stew is, as you might imagine, even better when reheated the next day.