Chef's Recipes

Beef rendang

Australian Gourmet Traveller Indonesian recipe for beef rendang by Tony Tan.

By Tony Tan
  • Serves 6
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 3 hrs cooking
Beef rendang
Beef rendang

Probably the most magnificent Indonesian culinary export, rendang is the contribution of the Minangkabau people from West Sumatra (of which Padang is the capital), and is served on festive occasions such as Hari Raya. It is erroneously called a curry by many food writers in the Western world, but authentic rendang must be dry: the slow-cooked dish has a coconut-based sauce that is heavily reduced so that it eventually fries the meat. Succulent, richly complex and absolutely delicious, rendang is often made with water buffalo, though chicken, lamb and even jackfruit are also used. If you are served rendang with some residual sauce, it is actually a variant called kalio. We’ve dropped the amount of chilli here; if you want the rendang to be of traditional heat, add a few finely chopped birdseye chillies as well.


  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped
  • 30 gm (6cm piece) ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 20 gm (4cm piece) galangal, finely chopped
  • 13 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 35 gm desiccated coconut
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
  • 850 gm beef oyster blade, cut into 5cm cubes
  • 500 ml (2 cups) coconut milk
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • To serve: steamed rice


  • 1
    Process lemongrass, ginger and galangal in a food processor to form a fine paste. Add chilli, onion and garlic and process to a coarse paste.
  • 2
    Dry-fry coconut in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden (3-5 minutes), set aside.
  • 3
    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add paste and stir-fry until aromatic (4-6 minutes). Increase heat to high, add meat and stir-fry until meat browns (3-5 minutes). Add reserved coconut and fry for 1 minute. Add coconut milk, sugar and 500ml water and bring to the boil, stirring frequently to prevent the coconut milk splitting. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender and coconut liquid begins to turn to oil (2-2½ hours), then remove beef with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • 4
    Cook sauce, stirring continuously (be careful as hot oil will spit) until almost dry (5-10 minutes). Return beef to pan, stir gently, season to taste and serve with steamed rice.


This recipe is from the June 2011 issue of .

  • Author: Tony Tan