#10 Malaysian ~ Beef Rendang

In week 10, I found myself cooking up a classic Malaysian dish – Beef Rendang. Rendang actually originated from Sumatra in Indonesia, and has migrated over the centuries to many neighbouring countries, including Malaysia.

This recipe is an adaptation of Poh Ling Yeow’s Beef Rendang in the book “Same same but different”. What makes this particular Rendang Malaysian is the inclusion of toasted coconut paste called kerisik. It is used in Malaysian Rendang to help thicken the curry instead of the low and slow technique used in Indonesia.

To make Rendang you will need to first make your kerisik, then your rempah (wet Malaysian spice paste), before you can begin to cook your curry. Both can be done in advance and refrigerated (airtight container for 2 weeks), or frozen (up to 3 months), until you’re ready to go.


  • 60g dried shredded coconut

Dry cook the shredded coconut in a fry-pan, stirring until it is evenly golden brown. Once the coconut is cooked, move it into a mortar and pestle, and grind into a paste.

Makes 1 portion for a 6 serve Rendang



  • 6 small dried red chillies, deseeded
  • 3 large dried red chillies, deeseded
  • 2 small brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/4 tblsp ground coriander
  • 3 tsp ground fennel
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only sliced
  • 2cm piece of galangal, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced

Soak the chillies for 30 mins in about 100ml boiled water. Combine all ingredients in a blender, including the chillie’s soaking water, and turn into a fine paste. If you have one, a Nutribullet or similar works perfectly and quickly.

Looks appealing doesn’t it? Smells divine, I assure you.

Makes 1 portion for a 6 serve Rendang

Beef Rendang

  • 1 portion of Kersik (above)
  • 1 portion of Rempah (above)
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1.5kg gravy beef, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tblsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tblsp tamarind paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Heat your oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Cook the rempah for about 10-15 mins, continuously stirring. The paste will caramelise, become richer in colour and more fragrant, and the liquid will begin to evaporate from it.



The oil will start to separate from the paste – this is good. Cooking the wet curry paste off enough is essential to achieving a fine curry, and this goes for most wet curry pastes such as your Thai ones. The heat draws out all the aromatics by toasting the spices and caramelising the natural sugars.

Add your beef, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, coconut milk, sugar, tamarind, and salt. Stir to combine and then simmer on low heat for about 40mins, stirring every now and then.

Add the kerisik and simmer a further 40 mins, until your meat is tender and half the liquid has evaporated. Be sure to have an extra cup of water on hand to add to your rendang if it begins to thicken and dry out too much. Check your seasoning and add more brown sugar or salt if you need to.

I served this tasty dish up with some coconut rice and roti cooked up on the sandwich press. If you have it, sambal (chilli sauce) on the side is a must.

Beef Rendang with Coconut Rice & Roti

Serves 6 ravenous curry lovers






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