Beef Rendang
The not-so-secrets to a tender and mouthwatering beef rendang, cooked in the oven for minimum fuss.
Cook Time
Cook Time
  • 1.5Kilograms stewing beefcut into 5 x 2.5 cm chunks
  • 1tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1.5teaspoons white peppercorns
  • 4cloves cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick(8 centimetres long)
  • 4 green cardamon pods
  • 2 black cardamon pods(optional)
  • 1 star anise
  • 15grams dried chilisoaked, drained and chopped
  • 35grams fresh chilideseed half if less heat is preferred
  • 350grams shallots(can substitute red onion if necessary)
  • 40grams garlic
  • 150grams lemongrass(about 4 stalks) tender white parts only, finely sliced
  • 25grams galangalchopped
  • 25grams gingerchopped
  • 15grams fresh tumericchopped
  • 1tablespoon shrimp paste
Remaining Ingredients
  • 3tablespoons oil(any neutral oil will do)
  • 50grams tamarind pulpmixed with 125ml hot water and strained
  • 40grams palm sugar(dark sugar preferred)
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 20centimetre pandan leaftied into a knot
  • 800mililitres coconut milk(two regular tins)
  • 1tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1tablespoon fish sauce
  • 100grams shredded coconuteither fresh (frozen) or dessicated is fine
  1. Preheat the oven to 130°C or 260°F.
  2. Toast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, peppercorns and cloves in a small pan until fragrant and lightly browned. Finely grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
To make the spice paste
  1. In a food processor or mortar and pestle, blend together the aromatics until it forms as smooth a paste as you can – it will depend on your machine (or your arm strength!). Don’t worry if it’s a little bit grainy, it’s not the end of the world as there will be plenty of time to cook it out.
For the curry
  1. In a large (34 x 26 cm) non-stick oven-proof roasting pan, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil on the stove and start to fry the aromatics paste for a couple of minutes, then add both the ground and whole spices (cinnamon stick, cardamons and clove) and cook over medium high heat until the paste softens and dries out a little. [You don’t have to caramelise it too much as it will continue to brown at the final stage of cooking.]
  2. Add the coconut milk and the tamarind, sugar, kaffir lime, pandan and soy and fish sauces and stir to combine. Add the beef, mix well and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cover the whole thing tightly with aluminium foil and cook in the oven for 4 hours, checking and stirring at hour intervals.
To make the kerisik
  1. While the rendang is cooking, prepare the kerisik. Place the coconut in a dry pan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Toast the coconut until it turns a nutty, biscuit-brown. This can be anything from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the type of coconut you’re using and its moisture content.
  3. Let the coconut cool a little, and then process in a food processor till finely ground, almost like crumbs. If you’re so inclined, it can be processed for even longer or hand ground until it forms an oily paste, but I never really bother to get that far myself. Set aside. If you prefer to have the grainier texture of the coconut in the final rendang, you can skip this step.
To finish the rendang
  1. After 4 hours, remove the foil and stir in the kerisik. Increase the oven temperature to 180°C or 350°F and continue to cook uncovered for a further hour, allowing the liquid to boil away in the oven, stirring every 15 minutes or so to prevent sticking. At this point, you will want the meat to fry a little in the oils that have been cooked out, and the dish is done when all the liquid has evaporated, and the meat has browned a little.
  2. Serve with plenty of steamed rice, maybe some steamed veg and pickles.