24 April 2010

Indonesian Beef Rendang

Rendang is a traditional dish of the Minangkabau ethnic group from West Sumatra, Indonesia. It’s also a popular dish in the neighboring countries, such as, Malaysia and Singapore. It used to be served during special ceremonial occasions to honor guests; but, these days it’s available in the menu of many restaurants and is enjoyed regularly by all. Rendang is usually eaten with glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk or just with some steamed rice.

Beef Rendang is slowly cooked in spiced coconut milk for several hours until almost all the sauce is absorbed into the beef, giving it the fusion of delicious flavors from all the spices like galangal, garlic, chilies, turmeric lemongrass, and ginger. Besides the delicious dark brown spiced beef, the slow cooking process will also naturally tenderize the meat as well.


1.35 kg/3 lb Beef (Brisket, Chuck or Silverside), cut into cubes of about 2 cm/ ¾ inches
6 Shallots, finely sliced
4 Cloves Garlic, sliced
2.5 cm/1 inch Piece of Fresh Ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
2.5 cm/1 inch Piece of Turmeric Root, peeled and roughly chopped, or 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
10 Fresh Red Chilies, deseeded, or 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Chopped Galangal or ½ tsp Ground Galangal
2.3 litres/4 Pints Coconut Milk
1 Salam Leaf or Bay Leaf
1 Fresh Turmeric Leaf or 1 Lemongrass Stem
2 tsp Sea Salt


Put the shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric root, chilies and galangal in a blender with 4 Tbsp of the coconut milk, and puree until smooth. Put this paste and the coconut milk in a large wok or saucepan. Add the meat and the rest of the ingredients to the pan; making sure that there is enough coconut milk to cover.

Stir the contents of the pan, and start cooking, uncovered, over a medium heat. Let the pan bubble gently for 1 ½ - 2 hours, stirring from time to time. The coconut milk will by then be quite thick and, of course much reduced.

If you started in a large saucepan, transfer everything to a wok and continue cooking in the same way for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. By now the coconut milk is beginning to reduce to oil, and the meat, which has so far been boiling, will soon be frying. From now on, the rendang needs to be stirred frequently. Taste, and add salt if necessary. When the coconut oil becomes thick and brown, stir continuously for about 15 minutes until the oil has been more or less completely absorbed by the meat. Take out and discard the salam or bay leaf, turmeric leaf or lemongrass. Serve warm with lots of rice.

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