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Rendang, a spicy beef or chicken concoction: My Grandmother’s all time favorite recipe!
Chicken Rendang if you prefer!
I have decided that it is time to do my grandmother a little honor - and what better way to give her an accolade than one to do with cooking! I come from a family of Peranakans, Chinese born in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. The women folk of these families have a tall order to fulfill. Matriarchs who hold the family rein, they are expected to be the best of cooks. My grandmother is no different, and her recipe for Beef Rendang has been popular for decades. In her sprightly eighties, she still prepares the dish for family and friends to savor.
Chicken rending if preferred
Beef Rendang with fried rice
The origin of a dish that honored
Beef Rendang is a spicy ethnic dish, prepared mainly by Malay, Indonesian Peranakan families, that originated from thes Minangkabau region of Indonesia. It made its appearance as a ceremonial food to honor guests. Foodies sometimes describe the dish as caramelized beef curry, for indeed after preparation and with the correct consistency, it is indeed what it looks like. Authentic rendang, though, is nothing like curry, for its gravy is not diluted but dry and thick. Too watery, and it means that the correct consistency has not been achieved.
Fond “Rendang” Memories
My grandmother used to, and still prepares Rendang for the family when they request to have their cravings for it fulfilled. I, the culinary stalker, would watch closely as she seamlessly prepared the ingredients for the dish and combined them into what would be a scrumptious delight. The dish was always a hit with my grand aunts and uncles, who would arrive in cars practically screeching to a halt to sample her efforts. It was a time to relish in family warmth, jokes and with our Chinese heritage, we would play a game of “mahjong”. Mahjong is a game, similar to rummy, involving 136 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols. It involves a marked degree of calculation, skill, and like rummy, chance as well. I would watch in fascination as my folks would eat the rendang, build the tiles and score points over one another.
Food in Malaysia/Peranakan Food
Features of this hearty, spicy beef recipe
This recipe feeds a family of four, and adjustments to the quantity of ingredients can be made according to how much the cook desires to prepare. The dish, being a popular catered choice at parties, can serve as many as desired.
It is good to use shin beef rather than topside beef for this recipe as the cuts tend to be more tender, though this is a matter of preference. The amount of spice in the dish can be adjusted, as with the levels of salt and sugar, to one’s personal taste.
The original recipe calls for candlenuts.My grandmother usually prepares the paste by grinding the spices and combining them herself. However, with rendang packets available at most supermarkets and Asian stores, there is no need for candlenuts as they have already been combined in the preparation of the paste. However, do make sure that all the other spices have been readied.
For those who prefer not to use beef, chicken is a good meat substitute in this dish. It involves no change in the method of preparing this dish or in the ingredients used. The dish is flexible and can be eaten with sides of rice, bread or even pasta if you so prefer!
What is Galangal or blue ginger?
Most spicy Asian Fare require the use of Galangal, or Blue Ginger, as it is more widely known. The other name for Blue Ginger is Galangal, a rhizome of the ginger family that is often used in spicy Asian cuisine, Thai, Malay fare. It is different from ordinary ginger because it has a more distinct, stronger taste, but no, it is not actually colored blue! It complements Asian cuisine because of its strong flavor, and certainly goes well with Rendang!
Beef or Chicken Rendang Recipe
Rendang Paste-this brand of paste is very good!
- 1 packet Beef Rendang Paste (Prima Brand preferred, as in the link)
- 1 kg or 36 ounces shin beef, topside beef may be used as a matter of preference
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 - 4 cloves, as preferred
- 4 slices blue ginger (must be blue ginger, not any other)
- 1 stalk lemon grass
- 6 leaves lime leaves
- 1 packet coconut milk
- 1 level teaspoon salt
- 4 small cubes rock sugar
- Fry shallots until they are golden brown and leave them aside.
- Add in the rendang paste and fry for a few minutes, until a lovely fragrance is emitted.
- Add the blue ginger, lemon grass, cloves, cinnamon stick and lime leaves.
- Add the meat and fry for about ten minutes.
- Add two rice bowls of water. Mix until the paste is consistent.
- Add the packet of coconut milk and stir.
- Add the teaspoon of salt and sugar. Taste for preference and adjustment.
- Add the fried onions, some lime leaves and a stalk of lemon grass as a garnish.
Rendang Calorie Facts
|Serving size: 1kg or 36 ounces|
|Calories from Fat||1170|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 130 g||200%|
|Saturated fat 100 g||500%|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 30 g||10%|
|Sugar 10 g|
|Fiber 10 g||40%|
|Protein 160 g||320%|
|Cholesterol 350 mg||117%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Copyright (C) by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin
No part of this work is to be reproduced without prior consent of the author.