Monday, August 8, 2011

Beef Rendang (Malay Spiced Coconut Beef)

Whenever I think about authentic Malaysian food, the beef rendang would definitely be on my list. This particular dish immediately conjurs about images of tradition, recipe passed down through generations, a motar and pestel, a basket of fresh spices and herbs and a family sitting down to a delicious meal.

Beef Rendang is one dish that does take patience as it needs to be simmered for a couple of hours. I guess nowadays people would take the "cheat" method which is to use packet prepared Rendang paste. I must confess that I personally have tried this method as well but somehow the taste is not the same! Maybe it's me being a fuss-pot but I truly don't mind putting this dish together from scratch.

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Beef Rendang (Malay Spiced Coconut Beef)


700g beef cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces (I used beef chuck)
2 1/2 cups thick coconut milk (can subsitite with 200ml coconut cream mixed with 1/3 cup water)
1 cup fresh grated coconut, toasted in a pan on low fire until brown and then pound until oil develops (can subsitute with unsweetened desiccated coconut. Alternatively you can buy the prepared toasted coconut or "kerisik" from Asian grocery shops)
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only and slightly crushed
2-3 turmeric leaves [daun kunyit], [Substitute: kaffir lime leaves; or the zest of 1 lime]
1 piece cinnamon stick 2" long
1 Tbsp tamarind paste dissolved in 2 Tbsp water, sieve and keep the tamarind juice (can substitute with lime juice)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp sugar (adjust according to taste)
Salt to taste

Grind into Paste:

10 pieces dried chilli, deseeded and soaked in warm water for 5 minutes (add more if you like)
2 fresh red chillies, deseeded
1 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled, sliced
1 1/2 inch galangal [lengkuas in Malay], peeled, sliced
1 inch fresh turmeric root [kunyit basah in Malay], peeled, sliced
6 red shallots (or subsitute with 2 medium onions)
2 cloves garlic


1) Grind all the ingredients in a food processor and set aside.

2) Heat wok (or non-stick deep stewing pot) on high, stir-fry spice paste and cinnamon stick for about 4 - 5 mins until fragrant and the oil develops.

3) Add in the lemongrass and beef cubes. Stir for another 3 mins, then add in the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and then turn the fire to a simmer. Add in the tumeric leaf (or lime leaf/zest).

4) Then add in the tamarind juce and cook the beef in a slow simmer for 1 1/2 hours. (Add a little water if it starts to dry up too quickly].

5) Add the toasted coconut paste [kerisik] during the last 30 mins of cooking. Season to taste with salt and sugar.

9) When the beef is very tender - the gravy, thickens and oil starts to float on top - remove from heat and discard the lemongrass stalks and turmeric leaves

10) Serve Beef Rendang with steamed rice, Nasi Lemak [Coconut Rice] or Lontong, a Malay Rice Roll

Note: If you don't eat beef, you can substitute with mutton, lamb or chicken. For chicken, the cooking time should be about 45 mins to an hour. Mutton and lamb should be the same cooking time as beef.

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noobcook said...

oh I love rendang and yours look so good. The home-made paste must be so worth the effort :)

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

Oh, your beef rendang look so good and tempting, I looking forward to go to my Malay's friend house when Raya time to taste this, hmm, YUM YUM!

Angie's Recipes said...

Yum yum! The gravy would go great with some Chinese steamed buns.

tigerfish said...

Look the spices going into your homemade must be super delicious rendang.

Sherleen.T said...

wow...the rendang is super tempting, i like it ^_^

Janine said...

homy word your rending looks super delicious! I always buy packet mix to make cos I thought it's very difficult to do, but your recipe makes it look less difficult!

Unknown said...

Are the chillies you use small red dried chillies or large long ones? Same for the fresh ones, small or large long?

Unknown said...

Are the chillies you use small red dried chillies or large long ones? Same for the fresh ones, small or large long?

Unknown said...

Are the chillies you use small red dried chillies or large long ones? Same for the fresh ones, small or large long?

Blogger said...

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