What Is Rendang?
Rendang is a rich and tender coconut beef stew which is explosively flavorful and beef rendang is the most popular rendang.
Called “rendang daging” in local language, it’s arguably the most famous beef recipe in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
Origins of Rendang
Beef rendang is of Indonesian origin, a delicious concoction from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia.
It’s often served at ceremonial occasions and to honor guests.
I believe the dish came to Malaysia when the Minangkabau settlers from Sumatra migrated to the southern part of the Malay peninsula during the era of the Melaka Sultanate.
This dish is well loved by many Malaysians, especially the Malay community.
While beef rendang is the poster child, there are variations such as chicken rendang and lamb rendang.
They are all absolutely delicious and best with rice, or Malaysian coconut milk rice (nasi lemak).
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What Kind of Beef for Rendang?
I used boneless beef short ribs or stew beef. The cut of beef will ensure that you have soft and tender beef once it’s cooked.
You have to cut the beef into small pieces to ensure that after the slow cooking, each chunk of beef is tender with the aromatic rendang curry paste.
Secret Ingredient of Rendang Sauce
To make the best rendang, you need to have the secret ingredient which is kerisik or toasted coconut.
You also need to cook on low heat to slowly stew and simmer the meat and reduce the rendang sauce.
I read that the Minangkabaus save the dish for months as the complex taste and flavor develop over time.
The Best and Most Authentic Rendang
I suggest that you make a big portion so you have some leftover. The flavors and aroma become more intense the next day.
Do try my recipe because it’s the most delicious and best beef rendang recipe you will find online!
How Many Calories per Serving?
This recipe is only 416 calories per serving.
What to Serve with This Recipe?
Serve this dish with rice, noodles or bread. For a traditional Malaysian meal and easy weeknight dinner, I recommend the following recipes.
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Beef Rendang (The Best!)
Beef Rendang - the best and most authentic beef rendang recipe you will find online! Spicy, rich and creamy Malaysian/Indonesian beef stew made with beef, spices and coconut milk.
- 1 1/2 lbs. boneless beef short ribs, cut into cubes
- 5 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 stick cinnamon about 2-inch length
- 3 cloves
- 3 star anise
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 lemongrass cut into 4-inch length and pounded
- 1 cup thick coconut milk coconut cream
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds
- 6 kaffir lime leaves very finely sliced
- 6 tablespoons kerisik toasted coconut
- 1 tablespoon sugar or palm sugar to taste
- salt to taste
- 5 shallots
- 1 inch galangal
- 3 lemongrass white part only
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 inch ginger
- 10-12 dried chilies soaked in warm water and seeded
1Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine.
Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry until aromatic. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked.
Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), sugar or palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.
4Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up. Add more salt and sugar to taste. Serve immediately with steamed rice and save some for overnight.
To prepare the kerisik or toasted coconut, just add the grated coconut to a dry wok and stir continuously until they turn golden brown.
I have made this recipe numerous times and it turns out great every time! I have substituted fresh lemongrass and galangal with powdered versions and it is still good! I make a big batch because my son loves to eat it for a few days and it tastes better every day, thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks for your support.
My first beef rendang! I tried the recipe. It was magnificently delectable! My husband and family just love it!!! Thanks so much for sharing!
This was really good recipe. Mine was a bit too assam, but I probably put about twice the amount of tamarind I should have. Next time I will might use finer kerisik for a different texture too.
Thanks for your trying!
This recipe is poorly written and ruined the dish. It says to food process the spice paste ingredients (which include lemongrass). Later it says to pound the lemongrass and put it in. Well if you’ve processed it, you can’t pound it!
The lemongrass should be excluded from the list of spice paste ingredients.
It’s also missing something, maybe coriander? It’s too sweet.
It is stated clearly that different amount of lemongrass is required for the dish AND the paste.
This dish turns out fine for me although I did not add the roasted coconut.
John M Bostwick
It’s not poorly written, you just need to read better. There are 3 lemongrass in the spice paste(white parts only), and there is one 4 inch piece(pounded) in the pot as it cooks. Yes, you probably could just put 4 lemongrass into the paste and would probably taste the same in the end.
You misread the recipe. The paste calls for 3 lemongrass in the paste, and then one more pounded after frying the paste.
The lemongrass is clearly listed both in the main ingredients and in the paste ingredients. Read the recipe properly before critisizing it because of your own mistakes.
You read it well and try to understand. On the first ingredients, it says there lemon grass cut into 4 and pounded.
On the spice paste ingredient, white part of lemon grass is to be included and blended in food processor.
You are the one with reading comprehension problem.
I have access to fresh turmeric, can this be added to give a nice flavour and colour?
It means you need more lemongrass. Some for the food processing and some more for the simmering. It helps to read the recipe multiple times before starting to buy ingredients and cook.
Oh dear Tricia……you wrote something unfair about what is a clearly written superb dish & now look remarkably silly. Hopefully this will give you cause to think in the future before writing something unfriendly, unnecessary & untrue.
maybe you should learn to understand what you read before criticizing others, dear TRICIA
I agree. I thought the whole dish lacks flavour. There’s no colour to it either. Oh well. Just ? Doing the rice now. Think I’ll give mine to our dogs.
The dish does not lack flavour at all. I have served this many times (followed recipe to a T) to friends and family, some of which are Malaysian too, and they have all agreed that the dish is perfect! It’s PACKED with flavour! Perhaps it’s your tastebuds that’s the problem?
I’ve made several versions of Rendang and this is by far this most flavorful.. If there is a problem with the flavor, it certainly isn’t with this recipe, which is one of the very very best… It is raved about every time I make it and the recipe is almost always asked for..
Hi -Can I leave this to cook in a slow cooker? If yes, for 6 or 8 hours?
Hi. I am really looking forward to making this for my family. Is it possible to double the recipe or will the spices need adjusting if I want to make it with double the amount of meat? Thank you.
Yes, you can cook two portions and double.
If we double the amount of meat do we have to double the amount of spices and paste???
Hi, I want to make this but not familiar with some ingredients. Today I went to two specialty stores and my local grocery store but could not find: kaffir lime leaves or galangal. Can I substitute these, are they a must?
You can leave them out.
Hi, do I have to open the cardamon pod and fry with the rest of spice?
Great recipe I’ve made it multiple times. I did edit it as I learned more and now always add a few candlenuts and a short piece of turmeric root
I have a question about kerisik. Some recipes pound them to paste. Do i really need to do that or adding just the grated toasted coconut is just fine to mix?
You should pound them, but you can also add the grated coconut.
Someone in my family is allergic to coconut. Will it be fine if I leave it out? Thanks!
Yes you can.