Beef Rendang

Photo by FotoosVanRobin/flickr

This Indonesian/Malaysian dish with its complex seasoning is easy to make. Everything goes in the pot at once and simmers until rich and thick.

Serves 8.


1.5 kg/3 lb lean stewing beef
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon chopped galangal, fresh or bottled
6 fresh red chillies, seeded
400 ml/14 fl oz can coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons chilli powder or to taste
3 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground aromatic ginger
1 stalk fresh lemon grass, bruised
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup tamarind liquid
2 teaspoons sugar


Cut beef into strips and put into a large, heavy saucepan. Put onion, garlic, ginger, galangal, chillies and 1/2 cup water into a blender, cover and blend until smooth. Pour over meat and add all remaining ingredients except tamarind liquid and sugar. Mix well and bring to the boil, uncovered.

Reduce heat to low, add tamarind liquid and simmer uncovered until gravy is thick, stirring occasionally. Turn heat low and continue to cook for about 2 hours, stirring from time to time, until oil separates from the gravy. Add sugar and stir constantly. Serve with steamed rice and vegetable dishes and sambals.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)