Indonesian beef rendang recipe

By Debbie Major

  1. Serves 4-6
  2. Ready in 3 hours
  3. Rating

This is a mild beef curry from the Far East, flavoured with coconut milk and lemongrass.

tried and tested
Indonesian beef rendang


  1. 2 lemongrass stalks
  2. 2 large red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  3. 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  4. 5cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  5. 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  6. 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  7. 1 tbsp ground coriander
  8. 1 tsp ground cumin
  9. 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  10. 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  11. 2 cinnamon sticks
  12. 12 cloves
  13. 2 bay leaves
  14. 600ml canned coconut milk
  15. 1.5kg braising steak, such as chuck or blade, cut into 5cm pieces
  16. 1 tsp salt
  17. Walnut-sized piece of tamarind pulp or 2 tbsp lemon juice
  18. 1 tbsp Billington’s Dark Muscovado Sugar


  1. 1. Remove the outer leaves from the lemongrass stalks and reserve. Roughly chop the tender core and put into a food processor with the chillies, garlic, fresh ginger, onion, ground ginger, coriander, cumin, black pepper and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend to a smooth paste.
  2. 2. Heat the sunflower oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves and allow them to sizzle for about 1 minute. Add the spice paste and bay leaves and fry gently for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, 200ml water, the beef, reserved lemongrass leaves and the salt and bring to the boil.
  3. 3. Meanwhile, if you are using the tamarind pulp, put in a small bowl with 120ml of warm water and work through with your fingers to release the seeds. Strain the syrupy mixture into a clean bowl and discard the seeds.
  4. 4. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the tamarind liquid or lemon juice and muscovado sugar and leave to cook uncovered for 21/2 hours, stirring more frequently as the liquid reduces, until the sauce is well reduced and quite thick and the beef is very tender. Serve with plain rice and a cucumber, tomato, red onion and coriander salsa.


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March 8

Tried this for the first time last night. Fantastic. I did seal the meat first in oil. I make quite a few curries, and this one is among my top rated.


January 6

further to my review y'day, i would say DEFINITELY fry-off & brown your beef first. either on its own or coated in flour. better all-round flavour & appearance ;o)


January 5

really really liked this. i've done quite a bit of cooking over the years, yet after this, my husband said "that's the best thing you've ever made". i wouldn't make this every week or anything, but every month or 2 would be nice...


January 16

Has this recipe changed since it appeared in the magazine? My magazine recipe tells me to buy RenDang paste which I was unable to find. Any Hints????? I used a recipe online for the paste. Will be trying this recipe now to see if it is as good as your other version that I had to adapt. it was one of our favourite beef dishes.

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