Beef Rendang -Indonesian coconut curry Recipe

Beef Rendang Recipe

Before I visited SE Asia I had never heard of Beef Rendang. 

Beef Rendang Recipe-8

This coconut curry originated from Indonesia but the first time I tasted it was in Malaysia Borneo. When I first learned how to make this I realized it can seem complicated and intimidating to create. As with most incredibly tasty dishes, its complex in flavor but the results are so worth it. 

If you have everything you need, it’s fairly easy. 

Beef Rendang Recipe-1

Beef Rendang Recipe-2

Below is a photo to show you the difference between ginger and galangal.  Galangal is on the left and ginger is on the right, also chopped in the same order.

Beef Rendang Recipe-3

Beef Rendang Recipe-4

This dish does take some time to prepare and the best advice, as always with cooking, is to have all your ingredients chopped and ready to go. Some of the things that go in this dish might seem foreign to you, but if you go to any Asian market or Whole Foods you should be able to ask and get what you need there. Another tip is when cooking with lemongrass, you want to smash the ends because they can be really rough making it hard for you to chop- after you’ve smashed them, then you can chop them much easier!

Beef Rendang Recipe-5

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I admit I also had never cooked with lime leaves or galangal, and its so much fun to try new things and see how they taste. You’ll be so surprised at how much you’ll like this dish.

Beef Rendang Recipe-1-2

After you add the coconut cream, your Rendang will start developing this nice dark color as it cooks.

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Traditionally, rendang is dry. It is ready when the coconut milk evaporates. It is served for special ceremonial occasions or to honor guests. The dried rendang is dark brown and almost black in color. If cooked properly, dried rendang can last for three to four weeks stored at room temperature, although I prefer to freeze mine and defrost as needed.

The first few times I made this, I realized I liked having a bit of liquid. Last week I made it again and I cooked it down all the way. It depends on your tastes and how you want it.

Beef Rendang Recipe-7

Beef Rendang Recipe
Fabulous Indonesian coconut curry dish sure to impress any guest.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
4 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
4 hr
  1. 1 kilo diced beef
  2. 2 yellow onions
  3. 4 cloves garlic
  4. 1 inch galangal*
  5. 1 inch ginger
  6. 3 seeded red chilis
  7. 2 lemongrass stalks
  8. 1 inch fresh tumeric
  9. 1 tsp ground coriander
  10. 1 tsp ground cumin
  11. 4 lime leaves
  12. 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  13. 2 cans coconut cream
  14. 350 mls water
  15. 40 mls dark soy sauce
  16. 4 or 5 diced idaho potatoes
  1. First off you want to make a spice paste to rub on your meat. You can put most of the ingredients in a food processor. Peel and chop the galangal, ginger, tumeric, and take the skins off the onions and garlic.
  2. With the back of your knife, smash the bottoms of the lemongrass to soften it up then chop it roughly. Crush all that up in the processor and pour it in a bowl adding the coriander and cumin. Throw the meat in a large pot and add the spice paste. Stir it up and add in the liquids along with the tamarind paste. Slice the lime leaves as thin as possible and add them as well. Bring it to a boil and then drop to a simmer for 3-4 hours.
  1. * You might have never heard of galangal. It's in the same family as ginger but MUCH harder to chop. If you can score some, awesome. If not, no sweat. I'm sure it will still taste good. If nothing else then get ground tumeric.
Adapted from El Mundo Tapas Bar
Adapted from El Mundo Tapas Bar
Travel This Earth

I know there are a few different recipes out there, but this one worked so well. A new favorite. How would you prefer it, with more liquid or dry? If you think you have any friends who might want to try to cook this dish, share the recipe with them too!