Indonesian beef rendang

Indonesian beef rendang
  • Serves icon Serves 6
  • Time icon Ready in 3 hours

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


  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 2 large red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 5cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 600ml canned coconut milk
  • 1.5kg braising steak, such as chuck or blade, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Walnut-sized piece of tamarind pulp or 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Billington’s Dark Muscovado Sugar


  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. 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. 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. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the tamarind liquid or lemon juice and muscovado sugar and leave to cook uncovered for 2½ 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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