Beef Rendang is one of the traditional cuisines that is originated from Padang in West Sumatra in Indonesia.  Today we could say that Beef Rendang is what people thought of on the first list when they think of Indonesian food. Similar to any other food, counties in South East Asia then come with their own version of this dish.  In my opinion as a proud Indonesian, the Indonesian version is always the best. Indonesian Beef rendang is juicy and tender, unlike the Malaysian counterpart which tends to be very dry.

Making authentic Beef Rendang may sound laborious and very daunting because of all the spices required and the lengthy process in making it. But once you’ve made it, leave it to cool to room temperature, place it in an airtight container serving  size and you can freeze it for months.




3kg of beef chuck – washed & cut into large cuts or to your liking  (bear in mind they shrink after cooking if you cit too small they may disappear after the lengthy cooking process.  I use chuck cuts because of the fatty tissue which help tenderize the meat during the cooking process and because they are flavourful


1kg of red chili  (I substitute this with 4 large red bell peppers to get the right color but less the heat because my family doesn’t take spicy food) – optionally you can use large red chili, seeded.

150gr of shallots  – peeled  –I wouldn’t recommend onion for a substitute because it may change the flavor completely, so not worth trying.

60gr of garlics – peeled

20gr of ginger  –  peeled and sliced or finely chopped

2 pcs of star anises

6 pcs of bay leaves – you can use dry bay leaves if you cannot find fresh ones

5 pcs of  kaffir lime leaves – you can use dry kaffir lime leaves if you cannot find fresh ones

3 pcs of Assam Kandis (garcinia Xanthochymus) – If this sounds too complicated you can substitute with Kokum which are  likely easier to find at  your local Asian or Indian spice store or as a last resort you can substitute with 2 tbs of tamarind pulp


30 – 50gr of galangal  – washed & slightly crushed but leave it as a whole, you only crush it to get the maximum  flavor out of it.

3 cans of 400ml of coconut milk or approximately 1200ml – separate into 3 parts

10gr of cinnamon sticks

5 pcs of cloves

300ml of water

2  – 3 fresh turmeric leaves  – I find that this item is the hardest to find outside of Indonesia so you may have to go without it.  I have made rendang without it in the past, you will not have perfect rendang without it but don’t worry your rendang will still be very tasty.

  • 4tbs of cooking oil



Warning :  This is a long process but this is what it takes to make nice beef rendang.



  • Blend chili/bell peppers, shallots, garlics, ginger, pepper, coriander, until very smooth (baby food consistency), set aside



  • In a large cooking wok or pot.  Make sure it’s big enough to contain the beef, with the sauce- bearing in mind we are cooking 3kgs worth of beef.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat, add the blended spice paste into the hot oil,add in bay leaves, kaffir lime leave, turmeric leaves, assam kandis (or its counterpart), cloves, star anise stir and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly to avoid burnt bottom.
  • Add the beef.
  • Continue stirring for 5 – 8 minutes you will start seeing the oil separates, stay and keep your eyes on the beef and continue stirring.
  • Add the first part of coconut milk into the wok, keep the stove on low heat

Here is rule of cooking with coconut oil –

Never cook on high-heat as it will break the coconut and becomes curdled. 

Maintain cooking over low heat 

  • continue stirring thouroughly but not vigorously  for at least 30 minutes to continue cooking, add water, more stirring, add the second part of the coconut milk stir thoroughly, add cinnamon sticks, and galangal, trun the heat low, put the lid on letting it simmer for further 30 – 60 minutes.
  • Always keep the stove on low heat, check and stir it once in a while
  • You will see quite a lot of oil concentration at the top part, given that we are only using 4 tbs cooking oil, the oil you see at the top is of natural oil coming out from the coconut milk and the juice of the beef itself, spoon the oily broth out, and throw away, you certainly don’t need it.
  • Check the tenderness of the beef with a fork or a toothpick,
  • Taste it to suit your liking, add salt and pepper if necessary, your beef rendang is ready when the beef is tender.  it’s best to be served with hot steamed rice.