How to Make the Best Beef Rendang

Irresistible beef rendang
Irresistible beef rendang

If you’re sick and tired of the same old way of cooking beef—consider beef rending. Tender moist flavorful morsels of beef coated with exotic spices--this dry stew is bound to tease your taste buds to no ends. Although it originated in west-central Sumatra, Indonesia, this dish is also popular in Malaysia and Singapore. Different regions of South-east Asia have developed their own special way of preparing this dish, but the main ingredients remain pretty much the same.

I didn’t discover this dish until I was much older. My mother was a staunch Buddhist and strictly frowned on eating any beef and I was not allowed to eat it too. Later, when I’m no longer until her watchful eyes; my curiosity won and beef rending became my favorite food. I liked it so much I learned how to make it and here’s the version that has been fine-tuned to my liking:

Use only bottom 2 inches of the stalk
Use only bottom 2 inches of the stalk
Fragrant kaffir leaves
Fragrant kaffir leaves

Beef Rendang:

  • 1 pound of round top or stew meat, cut into 2" cubes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cardamon pods (optional)
  • 5 kaffir leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 can of coconut milk (about 400 ml)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • Salt to taste

Rendang Paste: Blend the following ingredients until smooth:

  • 10 shallots or 1 small brown onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb-size (about 2") galangal
  • 1 thumb-size  (about 2")ginger
  • 3 stalks of lemon grass (use only bottom white part)
  • 10 to 12 dried chili pods (soaked in warm water and then seeded) or 1 to 2 tbsps (if you like it spicy) of chili flakes

Roti Prata, available in Asian markets.
Roti Prata, available in Asian markets.


  1. Heat oil in a stew pot and add blended paste, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and fry until fragrant.
  2. Add beef, sugar and salt and stir-fry until meat is evenly coated with paste.
  3. Add coconut milk and 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil.
  4. Lower heat and allow to simmer until meat is fairly dry and tender (about 1 to 1 and half hours). Stir occasionally.
  5. Season with extra salt and sugar if needed.
  6. Add sliced kaffir leaves for a fresh citrusy flavor.
  7. Dish out and serve.

Beef rendang goes well with Bismatic rice,  roti prata (like naan bread but flakier) or nasi kunyit (turmeric glutinous rice).

My recipe is relatively easy but if you're ambitious and want to go all the way out to create the ultimate authentic beef rendang, you may want to include one more step:

Kerisik (Toasted grated coconut)

1/2 cup of dessicated coconut, fry in a non-stick pan without oil until it is golden brown and fragrant. Add this to the beef at step 3--when you add the coconut milk.

Want beef rendang quick without all the fuss and preparation? Try beef rendang paste, available in Asian markets. I highly recommend Brahim's Kuah Rendang. Just follow instructions's easy.

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Comments 21 comments

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Ooo...Now your talking! Although I just had lunch, I'm hungry again. This would really go great with sticky rice by the way!

I also have a white rice hub that your probably familiar with. Beef Redang is awesome! Just hearing about kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass gets my mouth to water :D Bookmarked!

tony0724 profile image

tony0724 7 years ago from san diego calif

anglnwu , what's a brotha gotta do to get a dinner invitation ?

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago Author

Donh, it's nice to have the king of hubs visit my hub. Thanks for your comments--read your sticky rice hub and learn even more about sticky rice and I thought I knew a whole lot!

Can't go wrong with kaffir leaves and lemon grass combo--this winning duo can spruce up any dish.

Tony, thanks for dropping by. As for the invite, some day, maybe?

tim-tim profile image

tim-tim 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

That looks delicious!I never heard of Rendang. Thanks for sharing:)

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago Author

It tastes just as good as it looks. If you like spicy food, this is one dish to try. Thanks for dropping by.

ccycle profile image

ccycle 7 years ago from beijing

You have great Chinese food research, hope and contact you shortly.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago Author

ccycle, appreciate your comments and hope to see you around.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

You're making my mouth water. I'm a beef lover and am always looking for unusual recipes. I'm lucky to have a large Asian market down the road, so your ingredients are going on my shopping list. I might have a bit of trouble finding the galangal and kaffir locally, but I see they can be bought online. I'm off on my adventure!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago Author

Sally's Trove, good luck on this exotic food adventure. Of course, the adventure begins with hunting down the ingredients. Galangal and keffir are normally sold at bigger Asian markets. They may not even be labeled, so knowing what they look like helps. Enjoy and let me know how it works out for you. Appreciate your dropping by.

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 6 years ago from Indonesia

I love Rendang and a big fan of it, I feel a little bit fun thinking that my local herbs and spices were sold online :) but at least, for a beginner could make some delicious Rendang with instant seasoning from Indofood :) Thank you for sharing!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

febriedethan, good to see u again. Whenever I go home to visit Singapore, I'll indulge in some good Indonesian food--very yummy. You're right, you may find it amusing that Indo Rendang is being offered online--for you, you can find all these exotic spices right in your backyard. I have some lemongrass in my backyard and nothing else--most don't do well in this climate.

Thanks for visiting.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

As a beef lover, and one who always like to try new and intersting things, this looks delicious. I will have to bookmark this and give it a go on my next plan for a stew.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

Thanks, springboard. Give a try and let me know.

aniyan 6 years ago

thanks u soooooooo mach

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

aniyan, you're welcome sooo much!

bryanps profile image

bryanps 5 years ago from Australia

wow yummy recipes. really miss the authentic beef rendang flavour.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

thanks, bryanps--you can always visit an Indonesian restaurant for some:)

ma45frost profile image

ma45frost 5 years ago from USA

I love beef rendang but never really knew how to prepare it. Your recipe makes me want to try it out. Looking forward to more. Thanks angInwu

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

ma45frost, beef rendang may be a bit time consuming but you can always make a big batch. They can keep a long time in the freezer. Thanks for dropping by.

ma45frost profile image

ma45frost 5 years ago from USA

You're welcome. I love your articles. I've bookmarked your hub. Two thumbs up!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, ma45frost, I greatly appreciate your encouragement. Enjoy your rendang!

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