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!)
- 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)
- Chop 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.
- Lower 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.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
I made this dish tonight. I waited several days to get the galangal and kaffir lime leaves on line. Followed the recipe as closely as possible. I was extremely satisfied by the result. I used a really good beef roast, and still had to spoon off some grease. My stove top is gas and cooks hot, so I turned the pot on and off a few times. Ultimately finished it with the lid off. I used 10 peppers and although I really like spicy food, I think I will cut back to 8 next time, especially for guests. It was interesting that until the very end it was pretty light in color but got the nice dark color right at the finish. This was as good as any I’ve had and better than most. I was very happy with the result and will definitely make it again.
Mase rendang today did not follow recipe exactly i used drar mest but very nice. Thank you from Norway.
Hi what kind of chilis do you recommend? Many red chili peppers out there. I found an “authentic” one “Jinda” but I suspect 10-12 of those would be way too hot?
You can cut down to half to suit your taste.
Is this recipe very hot?
Cut down if you want it less spicy.
Hi, thank you for this recipe, I love it! I make it in the slow cooker (mine has a fry option) so I fry all the bits I need to first then slow cook on high for a few hours. Then I transfer to the stove and cook on a med-high heat to reduce down the liquid. It is absolutely perfect this way. So yum!
We have been making this recipe to the letter and it came out absolutely delicious every time we cooked it. You just have to let the lid off if it’s still too much liquid and it will thicken just like the photo.
This is the only recipe we will follow when making rendang so thank you Rasa Malaysia for sharing the recipe.
Thanks for your support.
The other user’s comment was absolutely correct. The recipe resulted in approximately 3 cups of liquid, similar to Pho soup.
Followed the recipe to the letter and it doesn’t look anything like the photos. Too much liquid abs the meat is tough. Find another recipe people
Spent years in SEAsia, and Beef Rendang is by far the best dish I was able to eat. I have tried to replicate it and found my skills are not up to the task. It takes a skilled Malay cook to make it perfect. Fortunately, my Amah was such. I have not been able to find this since I left there, and I am eager to taste it again. Heaven is based on this recipe.
Did you cook it with lid off for an hour before adding the kerisik? Lid goes on then and left to cook for another couple of hours. Mine comes out just like the picture and it is absolutely delicious with rice and stir fried turmeric greens. Plain yogurt and spring onion pancakes on the side. Happy days ??
If you cook it only 1/2 an hour longer, slow, with lid on, the meat will be so tender, juice absorbs and brown colour appears.
That’s the sweet spot when it turns into Rendang
I’d like to make this for 8 people. Do I just double the recipe?
Umm you do realize different stove tops and simmers will be different? Also not every cut of meat will get tender at the exact same time? Its cooking obviously you’re gonna have to adjust as needed. If it isn’t reducing in time turn up heat slightly and or remove lid earlier…
The recipe is totally fine but I personally do add some candlenuts
The first portion of the cook is with the lid off on the stovetop. This reduces the liquid and intensifies the flavour. Don’t put a lid on the pot until you have added the coconut.
Hi Bee, may I know if this recipe works in an Instant Pot? And if so, how long should I cook it for? Thank you.
Yes, it should be. I think 20 mins will be great.
You could say this beef rendang is THE BEST!! BUT IT IS FAR FROM THE BEST, AS I AM A NATIVE INDONESIAN WHO KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT IS THE BEST. THE INGREDIANTS YOU USED WERE NOT THE AUTHENTIC ONE WHO MY PEOPLE USED IT.
So, do you have a recipe to share?
So what is ‘the best’? or are you just going to sit there and ***** about it?
Did your version include fish sauce?
Probably not. The Instant Pot will prevent any evaporation.
Does the gravy really thicken with the lid on? I want to try this recipe, but the part where you cover a pot with mostly liquid and it comes out without excess liquid a couple of hours later despite being covered the whole time makes me nervous…
It does for me. I cook it for around an hour down low with the lid off. Then add the coconut and cook for another hour or so with the lid on and it comes out thick and sticky with no separated liquid. When I put the lid on I finish it in a low oven rather than on the stove top to prevent sticking.
It doesnt really say that you have to cook with an hour without lid… I agree that if you follow this recipe to the letter it’s too much liquid. Need to take the lid off at some point indeed.
Gravy thickens with lid off; allowing the excess liquid to evaporate.
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