Beef Rendang Recipe (Rendang Daging)
September 30th, 2008 205 Comments

Beef Rendang Recipe (Rendang Daging)

Beef Rendang (Rendang Daging)
Beef Rendang (Rendang Daging) pictures (2 of 5)

I am sure many of my readers in Malaysia and Singapore have been wondering why haven’t I posted a beef rendang or “rendang daging” recipe? Good news, the wait is finally over and here is my recipe of arguably the most famous beef dish in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

Beef rendang is of Indonesian origin–a much-celebrated recipe from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia–and often served at ceremonial occasions and to honored guests. After spending hours making my beef rendang, I totally understand why. Beef rendang is not your everyday beef dish that one can whip up in a jiffy, the time–not to mention patience and dedication–alone is probably a main obstacle for most people. If you must know, it took me almost 3 hours to concoct a pot of this aromatic and extraordinarily scrumptious beef rendang. For those of you who have never tried beef rendang, I can only describe it as “a rich and tender coconut beef stew which is explosively flavorful,” one that is certain to win you over if you taste it.

I believe beef rendang was introduced to Malaysia when the Minangkabau settlers from Sumatra migrated to the southern part of the Malay peninsula during the era of the Melaka Sultanate, but I could be wrong. In any case, beef rendang is a very popular dish for many Malaysians, especially the Malay community.

No beef rendang is made exactly the same. If you are willing to spend time in the kitchen preparing the spice paste, toasting the grated coconut to make golden-hued “kerisik” (toasted coconut in Malay language), and then patiently cook and stew the meat over very low heat so as to dry up the liquid and make the meat tender, you will be rewarded handsomely. Like I did with my beef rendang.

Another fact about beef rendang that I absolutely have to share with you: it only gets better with time, so much so that the Minangkabaus save them for months as the complex taste and flavor develop over time. For everyday home cooks, I will advise you to serve them once the beef rendang is done, but save some leftover as it only gets better overnight.

For those of you who wish to learn more about beef rendang, check out this article on Wikipedia, or you can just feast your eyes with my beef rendang photos above, and try my beef rendang recipe.

Click Page 2 for the Beef Rendang Recipe (Rendang Daging) Recipe
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205 comments... read them below or add one

  1. teo ai li says:

    This is a fantastic fantastic beef rendang recipe! My whole family loves it. Each time I cook, I will cook 1kg of beef and yet not enough. I increased all the ingredients proportionately to 1kg of beef used. The only difference I did was to add in a packet of pre-mix beef rendang powder. It still tasted great but my neighbour found the overall spices flavour overpowering. Do you think I should :-
    A) omit this premix altogether
    B) use 1/2 a packet premix with 1kg of beef
    C) use 1 whole packet of premix but increase my beef to 2kg
    (the rest of the ingredients will be for 1kg of beef)

    Appreciate your help as I intend to cook for a potluck lunch this coming Saturday. Thanks!

    • Simon says:

      This is amazing, I have looked this up as I am also going to try cooking this weekend! I used sauce packet mix previously – so pedas, watery (even after boiling for ages) and no flavour. Very frustrating as I am in the UK and fresh ingredients are not that easy to get.

      Why not try using more coconut milk? Think this is what I will do now I’ve read this recipe. Good luck!

    • Rebecca Lee says:

      @teo ai li since Bee Yinn Low gave us the recipe of the Randang spices, why have to waste money to buy a packet Rendang Mix !! Keep that for travel as I often bring along this prepacked curry paste to Australia or any Western countries as I can get good and cheap meat especially in the market just 3 hrs before closing for weekends in Melbourne Victoria Market, they cut the price to 80 %++ !! For Stewing beef only A$ 0.80 per kg !!
      Since it is so, so yummy, I will cook this one day as I will cook Ipoh Laksa tomorrow !!

  2. I actually lived in West Sumatra and indeed the Rendang Daging Sapi originated from there. They also speak with a slightly different dialect. Especially the last sylable was changed.
    Rendang is often cooked until it is dry and thus easy to eat what one is on the road.

  3. Karl says:

    I’ve made this before and it is fantastic. I plan to cook it on New Years Eve but will need to use about 3 pounds of beef – should I just double everything up? I’m just a bit worried that star anise and cinammon can be over powering.

    • Zena says:

      Hi Karl.

      30years after I last had it, I am going to attempt the recipe on this site, but I want to make considerably more than this particular recipe states. Yours was the only post I could find that had the same question as I do……do I double – or triple up on EVERYTHING, or do adjustments need to be made?
      I note that your post was just over 2 years ago, so am hoping you can share your information with me please?

      Many Thanks and Greetings from DownUnda!

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  5. LizBorneo says:

    Today, I decided to try this recipe! As a Malaysian, I should really make an effort to make Beef Rendang from scratch, WITHOUT using pre-mix :)) I’ve given this link to my friends on so many occasions whenever they asked me for Beef Rendang recipe! And they all have great comments! Needless to say, they were absolutely right! It’s easy to follow and I even made the “kerisik” (toasted coconut) myself. It’s worth the extra work! :))

  6. jamieyeow says:

    i should be able to substitute beef with chicken right?

  7. dudi says:

    no, rendang is really a beef dish and is not a dish which lends itself to substitute chicken

    • Malay says:

      As a Malaysian, I can categorically say that you CAN use chicken – we make this all the time! Because of the kind of chicken we get in Malaysia (battery chicken essentially…), combined with the high humidity, chicken rendang doesn’t last very long if not kept refrigerated almost at all times. The best approach is to cook the rendang sauce/gravy until almost the desired consistency, and then add either shallow-fried or roasted chicken pieces (boneless or otherwise) to the sauce. Living in London, I’ve even made turkey rendang!! Next: lamb rendang!

  8. Ron (Harun) says:

    When making beef rendang, there was mention of a spice mix. Can you tell me the name of a packaged spice mix that produces the right flavor. I tried several available to me here in USA and did not find them adequate. Their flavor was not as I remembered (and preferred) while in Malaysia.
    Please don’t be shy about brand names since I need to know which ones to try.
    Terima Kasih banyak.


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  10. sue low says:

    I was hoping that this recipe can be substitued with chicken pieces.

  11. vitor569 says:

    What a great looking recipe! I’m trying to make it in Brazil, but I could only find dehydrated galangal, kaffir limes and lemongrass. Do you think I could substitute the fresh ones for the dry? Should I soak them in water first?

    Thank you

    • Redzuan says:

      You’ll never get quite the same taste from dried but better than nothing. Dried kaffir lime leaves are okay or you could substitute a lime (put in it whole) as the zest oil is what you want. You’ll probably need to double up on the galangal but don’t pound/blend it in; simply fish it out before serving. Dried lemongrass is nasty; do want you can to get hold of some even if not entirely fresh.

  12. Tama says:

    I don’t understand “save some for overnight.”

    I never have any left over…..:)

  13. pixie says:

    in indo, there are many instant ingridients (indofood) for rendang. it just make simple, you simply add instant KARA coconut milk. ready !! :)

  14. pixie says:

    in indo, there are many instant ingridients (indofood) for rendang. it just make simple, you just simply add instant KARA coconut milk. ready !! :)

  15. Heather says:

    What kind of dried chilli do you use? Also if I make my own toasted coconut do I get the unsweetened kind and then toast in oven? Or sweetened kind? Thanks!

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  17. Ben says:

    I followed the recipe exactly but the chuck meat didn’t tenderize. Any ideas why this would be?

    • Liz says:

      The cooking process takes time… I made this yesterday and it took me about 3 hours! I spent the first hour, stirring the pot while the meat is simmering at medium heat. By then, the meat is almost cooked. Cover the lid and leave it for another 1 – 1.5 hours at low heat. :)

  18. For Rendang you can use almost any kind of meat. Chicken, duck, fish, ell, or even egg. Rendang originated from Indonesia, but I think Malaysia had develop another different taste of rendang. I’ve been to Malaysia and tasted Malaysian rendang, it is as good as any rendang that I had tasted but it have a different touch. Like in West Sumatra, different area had different taste of rendang. For example there is rendang Pariaman and rendang Maninjau. Pariaman are the most popular rendang in Indonesia because a lot of West Sumatra restaurants owners are from Pariaman.

  19. Aku says:

    I love beef rendang and haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I was wondering is it possible to make the spice paste a few days in advance and should you keep it in the fridge or freezer?

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  24. Emma says:

    Hi just wondering with the toasted coconut, does it have to be fresh coconut or can I use dried coconut?


  25. Rob says:

    I’m cooking this right now and it smells wonderful. I’ve just added a few extra chilli’s as I’m a masochist. The taste is already rich and wonderful. Thank you.

  26. peter rooney says:

    OK so far so good, tastes fine, a bit sweet, one major problem I ran into is that the lemongrass I can get here is obviously semi-dry and no matter how much I pounded it and shredded it the dish is full of little bit of shredded plastic :-(

    • peter rooney says:

      Had to save the dish by removing all the beef, and pushing the sauce through a seive to get rid of the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves :-( . I’ll know not to pound or shred our local lemongrass or dried lime leaves, maybe just crush them and add as bouquet garni wrapped in something like a small garlic net. Tasting it so far it is unusual, tasty but still a bit sweet for me.

  27. H. Lim says:

    2 questions:

    1. When you mentioned “3 cloves” I presume you’re referring to garlic?
    2. I can’t find cardamom pods in local supermarkets here in Canada. Any substitutes? Or can I leave this out?

  28. vlnlsn says:

    Way to sweet and the color is not good …. Don’t know what I did wrong??? Smelled good… But way to sweet and missing something… Did turn out like the picture…..

  29. Lovely recipe! I’m making it now and it smells and tastes wonderful! It’s not done yet and I can hardly wait. :)

    I subbed in deer for the beef and omitted cloves and star anise (I have bad reactions to them) and it’s still wonderful. Thank you for the recipe. :)

    • Redzuan says:

      Instead of star anise you could try fennel or a little liquorice as substitute; if you’re allergic to those then I’m at a loss what to try. No idea what could sub for cloves. Have you tried using pure oil extract or does that draw the same allergic effects?

  30. Erin says:

    Could I use another cut of beef? I have a huge round roast that I need to use up.

  31. Usswl says:

    I just made this but cheated along the way and it turned out great, just like Pariaman Nasi Padang restaurant back home in Singapore.

    I used about 2lbs of beef chuck (pot roast) cubed into 1.5 inch pieces.

    For the spice paste you can get fresh Thai red curry paste here in tubs. I checked the ingredients. Has most of the rempah ingredients already.

    I made it in a pressure cooker and made my own kerisik.

    I sautéed the rempah and did have to add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and star anise.

    Once that was fragrant I added the beef and stirred. Didn’t need to add the lemongrass because the rempah already had it. Added a tin of coconut milk but skipped the water and also added the kerisik.

    Oh rempah already had the kaffir leaves as well. When I make rendang from scratch, I also ask cumin and coriander but rempah had that too.

    Stirred it all, covered and cooked under pressure 45 minutes.

    While waiting I made sayor lodeh using Thai green paste and coconut rice.

    After t was done, I had to let it simmer for a few minutes to reduce / thicken the gravy to my taste.

    By the way I also had to add palm sugar, tamarind

    45 minutes. Worth it. Bit greasy so after it cools I shall skim the fat off, and save the rest for tomorrow so the flavours develop further.

    Thank you for this recipe. It was a great inspiration. I wouldn’t have used any premix but I have used this before and it’s worth the few dollars and time savings.

    • Redzuan says:

      Definitely needs coriander powder (freshly ground is best) and turmeric powder too. I like a little toasted blachan (my malay bias) but not to everyone’s taste. The recipe is a good reminder as its been ages since I last cooked rendang from scratch;-p

  32. sharon says:

    This looks great — there’s a great little family restaurant back home in LA (IndoThai, in the Culver City area) that made this recipe, which I ordered every time I went.

    I’m going to try to make this in the slow cooker, but imagine I’ll have to adapt the liquid. Has anyone else tried it in the crock pot?

  33. john kendon says:

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………… one man’s floor is another man’s ceiling…(subtitute “woman” if appropriate)…..i am sorry; i am of the camp that basically does not matter if you make from ingredients or package, as long as you are happy with the outcome and you enjoy the eating! exact?…nah!…..”pinch of this and a dollop of that” as long as you enjoy….cooking does not have to be so precise as to warrant examination for a gold trophy or medal from some french chef…just cook n enjoy!

  34. MeldyMW says:

    This beef rendang recipe is the best and very reliable. I got what I imagined the taste to be. Your site for me is the best source of authentic Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian recipes.

    Thank you for being so generous in sharing tips and techniques.


  35. Jessica says:

    I lived in Singapore for 10 years and now I live in the UK. Beef Rendang is one of the things that I crave when I go back there! This recipe is the most authentic to me, having tried a few recipes in the past. I think the key ingredients that many other recipes miss out are star anise and kerisik (which is so easy to make yourself). I have a pot simmering right now and my whole house smells amazing! Great recipe! Selamat makan!

  36. boma says:

    asia ordinary cuisine, i can found in indonesia or malaysia, may be in singapore

  37. Emily says:

    Hi, I’m making this recipe in the UK and can’t some of the exact ingredients. I was wondering if these would make ok substitutes? I can’t find the tamarind pulp so I’ve decided to make my own, which is apparently nicer. Is thicker better for this dish or should I add more water? Also substituting lime leaves for lime zest, making the keristik from desiccated coconut or should I just blend a fresh one? Instead of using dried chillies (which I can’t find) I’m going to use crushed, but how much will I need and do I need to prepare it in anyway first? And the last thing which I can’t find at all is Galangal, I can’t even find a powdered version. I’ve been told that ginger is the best substitute for this, but it doesn’t taste the same. There is also already ginger in the dish so would this involve me substituting it entirely with ginger or just adding a bit extra, is there anything else you can think of that I may be able to use instead? Sorry for all the questions, but I’m making this for my other half as it’s his favourite meal and I really want it to be just right. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

    • Hi Emily, if you substitute all the key ingredients, it’s not going to be rendang.

      • Emily says:

        Thank you for your reply. That’s a fair point, ha. The good news is I’ve actually managed to find everything bar the Galangal, I’m going to a few specialist stores tomorrow to see if I can find it there. If not would ginger work just as well or will the taste be completely different?

        • Ginger is not the substitute for galangal unfortunately.

        • Ellie says:

          Whereabouts do you live in the UK Emily? If you have a Wing Yip store close by you should be able to find all the ingredients in store. My store in Birmingham has fresh galangal (exhorbitantly priced though), and in paste form (in jars).

        • Captain bob says:

          Hi Emily,
          Guess this is a little late, but for the future, galangal is available minced in a jar in the speciality ingredients section of my local Sainsburys. Seems to be the only supermarket that stocks it though.
          I love this website. Slowly working my way through the recipes. Rendang should be ready in about 30 mins, smells ace! So far, chicken with ginger and scallions is my favourite. It’s better than any I have had from local restaurants.

  38. Anom M says:

    For kerisik, normally after you toast the coconut until golden and aromatic, you need to pound them in pestle and mortar to become a slightly oily paste, then only you mix them in rendang. That will make your gravy thicker and creates more aromatic smell for the rendang. That is how i always do it. :)

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  41. Zaida says:

    I will attempt to cook this recipe, but about 3x more. Should I increase all ingredients 3x? Pls. advise.

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  45. Sally says:

    Hi Bee,

    I would like to ask….are we using the whole green or black cardamon pods which sold by Indian groceries??? Hear from you very soon coz I’m going to make this dish this Friday…thank you ;)

  46. Connie Choong says:

    May I ask why coriander is not included in the ingredients. I thought all curry recipes should include at least some coriander and cumin.

  47. Rhianna says:

    Hi may I knw this recipe serve for how many paxs? I am planning to cook for 20paxs… Thank you…

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