Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang

This Beef Rendang was one of the dishes I learned how to cook one rainy afternoon at Russel Wong’s home (yes, the Russel Wong from Bourdain’s Singapore espisode). His wife Judy can cook about as well as Russel can shoot a portrait, after an afternoon sweating over a wok, we were sitting down with friends to an eight course feast in Russel’s photo studio. While it was tough picking a favorite dish from that night, I found myself going back to the Rendang more than any other dish.

Spice Paste for Beef Rendang

The flavors of Beef Rendang unfold in layers, like a stick of Willy Wonka’s three-course-dinner chewing gum. First there’s the zingy flavors of lemongrass and ginger, then comes the savory beef along with a torrent of chili, finally, as you continue to chew you start tasting the creamy coconut milk towards the back of your tongue.

Beef for Rendang

Throughout the Rendang lesson, Judy hammered home two things: 1) Rendang is not rendang if it has a sauce 2) Rendang always tastes better the next day.

That’s because Beef Rendang was originally created as a method of preserving meat. Before refrigeration was available, when wealthy Minangkabau farmers dispatched a cow for a special occasion it was often turned into Rendang. With its blistering spiciness (capsaicin is an antimicrobial), low moisture content and high fat content, Rendang provided a way to make the kill last for weeks in the sweltering Indonesian heat.

Frying Spice Past for Beef Rendang

First a spice paste is fried to bring out the flavors, then the meat is braised with the spice paste and coconut milk, then after nearly all the liquid has evaporated, the remaining sauce is caramelized by frying it in the oil that the meat released during braising. This creates an extremely flavorful coating on the outside of the beef, which eventually absorbs back into the meat, making Rendang improve in flavor over time.

Rendang Progress

For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to be able to head down to a local shop and pick up fresh coconut milk (or lack the patience to grate the coconut and extract it ourselves), I’ve found a good alternative that beats the canned stuff. It’s a coconut powder created by spray drying fresh coconut milk, a process that rapidly removes the liquid preserving the flavor profile of fresh coconut milk. It’s sold in 50 gram packets by a company called Kara and makes about 1 cup of coconut milk per pack.

Coconut Milk for Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang
Beef Rendang
Print Recipe
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 170
Rating: 4.24
Rate this recipe!
An Indonesian dish made by simmering beef for hours in coconut milk and spices until the liquid has evaporated. It's then fried in the oil the meat releases, caramelizing what's left of the sauce around each piece of meat.
Beef Rendang
Beef Rendang
Print Recipe
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 170
Rating: 4.24
Rate this recipe!
An Indonesian dish made by simmering beef for hours in coconut milk and spices until the liquid has evaporated. It's then fried in the oil the meat releases, caramelizing what's left of the sauce around each piece of meat.
Servings Prep Time
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
Cook Time
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds - ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric - ground
  • 2.5 centimeters ginger - fresh roughly chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 200 grams shallots (4 large shallots) roughly chopped
  • chili pepper flakes to taste (I used about 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 900 grams beef shanks or shortribs cut into large cubes
  • 2 stalks lemongrass white part only, smashed
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2.5 centimeters galangal sliced into coins
  • 2 packs freeze dried coconut cream rehydrated in 2 cups of warm water, or 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar brown sugar can be substituted
  1. Add all the salt, coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic, shallots, and chili flakes to a food processor and run until there are no clumps left and you have a smooth spice paste. You'll need to scape the bowl down a few times.
  2. Add the oil to a heavy bottomed pot and heat over medium high heat until shimmering. Fry the beef in batches, allowing each surface to brown before turning. Transfer the browned beef to a bowl and repeat with the remaining meat.
  3. Add the lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal to the hot oil and fry until fragrant. Transfer to the bowl with the browned beef, leaving the oil in the pot.
  4. Turn down the heat to medium low, and then add the spice paste. Fry, stirring constantly until very fragrant and most of the moisture has evaporated (about 10-15 minutes). If the paste starts burning, reduce the heat and add a bit of water. Add the coconut milk and palm sugar, and then return the beef and herbs to the pot, stir to combine the turn the heat down to medium low and loosely cover with a lid (you want some steam to escape). Stir the rendang periodically and simmer for 3-4 hours until the meat is very tender.
  5. Once the meat is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 4 hours), remove the lid and turn up the heat. You'll need to stir the mixture constantly to prevent it from burning, but you want to evaporate as much liquid as you can without burning the meat. At this point there should be quite a bit of oil in the pot from the meat so you're essentially frying the sauce and concentrating the flavors.
  6. The rendang is done when there is almost no sauce left and the meat is dark brown. Keep in mind that oil does not evaporate, so you will still have a bit of oil at the bottom of the pan. Ideally you'll let this sit overnight for the flavors to evenly distribute into the meat. During this time, the meat will turn chocolate colored and the flavors will deepen. Serve the beef rendang with steamed rice.

All images and text on this website are protected by copyright. Please do not post or republish this recipe or its images without permission. If you want want to share this recipe just share the link rather than the whole recipe.

  • guest

    Your pictures are so helpful!  How would you suggest we reheat it the next day to serve?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Gently microwaving worked best for me, but you could also add some of the fat that’s settled on top into a frying pan and fry it.

  • Stuart Hedges

    I had rendang in a restaurant once and absolutely loved it, so I’ll definitely be cooking this at some point!  Looks fantastic, very much looking forward to this.

  • Nisrine

    Looks absolutely divine. It’s been a while since I’ve visited. Hope you’ve been well.

  • Mike – Foraging Seattle

    Rendang along with nasi campur are two of my most favorite Indonesian dishes.  Of course, its only delicious if you eat with your bare hands!

  • Wok with Ray

    Love the marbles around the meat — tons of flavor it gives!

  • Maureen

    What a wonderful experience to learn how to make this.  I’m envious!  Looks delicious.

  • The Culinary Chase

    Great recipe and love Rendang! Used to eat quite a bit when we lived in Singapore.

  • Seduction Meals

    this sounds incredibly delicious – can’t wait to try it

  • Pepy Nasution

    I’m just about to make some batches of rendang and you posted this.  You make me hungry now.

    Marc, I envy you by having the ability to get that Indonesian brand coconut cream :))

    If you have the opportunity to get turmeric leaves, try with them and you will discover the difference.

    Most rendang recipes in Indonesia don’t add palm sugar due to the add of toasted grated coconut that is pounded and in result it will release a bit sweetness to the food.

  • Christie @ Fig & Cherry

    Wow, wow, wow! Love the shots at different times – great idea! I will have to pinch it for a future post 😉 Even though it’s Summer here in Australia, I’m still craving this right now.

  • Oui, Chef

    Marc, this looks amazing.  What a fabulous explosion of flavors here, can’t wait to try it.

  • Lisa in NH


    What about using coconut powder, like King Arthur sells, or cream of coconut instead of the coconut cream powder? Also, do you have suggestions for substitutes for hard to get items like kafir lime and galangal?

    Thanks so much…can’t wait to try this one soon!

    Lisa in NH

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Lisa, I’ve never used it but King Arthur Coconut Milk Powder should work for this recipe. You can also just use canned coconut milk which should be available in any big grocery store with an Asian food section. As for kaffir lime leaves and galangal, unfortunately there’s no good substitute. The good news is that they freeze well and will keep for a year when sealed in a double layer of ziploc bags, so if you can make a trek out to a bigger city with a thai grocery store, you should be able to pick those ingredients up and keep them around for a long time. Since it sounds like you’re in New Hampshire. If you ever make it down to NYC, Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco street will have those ingredients. Otherwise you might try searching Google for a Thai grocery in the Boston area. Good luck!

      • Lisa in NH

        I was able to send a friend to H-Mart, near Boston. He was able To pick up galangal and lemongrass, but said the lime leaves were nasty and expensive. I was able to locate an Asian market in Nashua (35 mins south of me in NH) that carries the lime leaves (frozen). They also carry sooooo many other specialty items as well…including palm sugar! I was able to pick up more items than I need right now, but I couldn’t help myself…too good! I’m making the rendang tomorrow…can’t wait.


        • Marc Matsumoto

          Great! Glad to hear you were able to find the ingredients and find a new shop relatively near you:-) Lemongrass and galangal both freeze well, so if you have leftovers, just slice up the galangal (it’s hard to cut fresh, imagine trying to cut it frozen) and you can either freeze the lemongrass whole or slice it really thin and freeze it (depending on how you plan on using it later). Good luck with the Rendang and let me know how it goes. 

          • Lisa in NH

            Okay, here goes…I had all the ingredients, but my short ribs had bones, so my 2+ lbs was really maybe 1-1/4 lbs. My fault. My prep work stunk…I didn’t have everything ready when needed, so I think I burned my spice paste (which wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked as well). The Rendang was done at about 2-1/2 to 3 hours, but the meat did fall nicely off the bone (what I hadn’t already cut off and cubed). So, the meat was cooked perfectly, the flavors were too “smoky”, but not overpowering. My husband still enjoyed the meat portion, my daughter ate her rice, I am mad at myself for messing up my mise and getting too much bone. I’ll need to try it one more time…I don’t like failure, especially on a dish that could be really amazing. Thanks for your time, energy, and inspiration, Marc!


  • Anonymous

    I saw this yesterday and I came back today to drool at the photos again. haha.

  • Jill Mant~a SaucyCook

    Gosh I hope I’m not drooling all over this post! Marc, this dish looks and sounds phenomenal and I love the timed photo display. Let’s be friends so I can come and eat at your house!

  • RC

    Rendang is my favorite. I made a chicken version. Your pictures want me to make it all over again!!

  • vie-70205

    rendangggg, my fav indonesian dish !

  • Jean

    It’s really hard to focus on your post because it means I have to tear my eyes away from that first image.  

    I wonder if my Asian market carries that coconut cream powder…will have to look for it on next trip.  

  • Debs @ The Sspanish Wok

    Yum, your rendang looks delicious.

  • Katherine Martinelli

    This looks incredible. Funny you should mention coconut powder – I was just in an Asian specialty shop in Tel Aviv and spotted that and wondered what the heck I would use it for. Now I know! I’ll have to go back and get some. So happy to have discovered your gorgeous blog.

  • John

    Would this work for chicken as well?

  • Felicia Cheriaa

    wow, this’s my favorite food from Minangkabau. East Sumatera, Indonesia. isn’t it ? So creamy and spicy ;d

  • Stephen Shimmans

    I’m going to try this later Marc, it looks fantastic, and your description of the taste is mouthwatering. I have a lecture until One but after that it is plain sailing. I’ll let you know how I get on. I have been able to find dried kaffir lime leaves and unfortunately no galangal so my recipe is without that. I have lemon grass paste. It sucks when you can’t find the ingredients you need

  • Pingback: Beef rendang. « martetatin()

  • Taypeatz

    I am not a fan of spicy food, but the photos of this recipe looked so incredible I had to try it! My husband was absolutely thrilled and surprised I cooked this (and ate it)! It was really amazing. I find your website inspiring… And I can’t wait to work through more of your recipes through my Maternity Leave!!! I also did your chicken chili which was also spicy and great… Had to use the other white meat (ground pork) as our grocery store was out of ground birds :) Thanks again!!

  • outRIAAge

    That photomontage showing what the dish should look like at the various cooking stages is nothing short of brilliant: everybody should use it for long-drawn-out recipes like this one.

    I’m toying with the idea of finishing the dish, partially uncovered, in the oven and just stirring occasionally, instead of stirring every 15 minutes for hours. That’s what I did with the chicken rendang I made last week, and it was just awful good. The oven technique might be legitimate. I know most Asian kitchens don’t have an oven so the recipe never evolved that way, but perhaps it can.

  • Habebehayat

    Since college this is my palate and plate already….its flavorful, savory, and mouth watering dish.. 

  • Pingback: Dan Dan Noodles | Goldilocks Finds Manhattan()

  • Alvin

    I just want to thank you. My wife grew up in Malaysia and she really missed Beef Rendang. A restaurant here had it on the menu but it had to much sauce and didn’t taste anything like she remembered. So I searched and found your site. You’re was simpler then the ones I found. So I tried it. The first time didn’t turn out so well. Mainly because I used the wrong pot. The bottom was to thin and everything cooked way to fast.

    I’m happy to say I have now cooked your recipe 5 times and it gets better every time. My wife and brother-in-law love it. It taste so authentic and reminds them of their childhood.

    So thank you soo much. I’m making this almost every other week. And I have so much fun making it for my family.

    Thank you again sooooo much!

  • Steven Tanoto

    I made this for some friends, I substituted the chilli flakes with fresh chillies and it was lovely. When we ate it, it was heaven on our plates! We had some leftovers and had it for lunch the next day, and it tasted even more glorious. Thanks for the recipe, I will definitely be making more of this recipe!

  • The Food Scout

    I’d love to try out this recipe!

  • Stephanie Burbank

    I am addicted to a Beef Rendang that is served here in a new restaurant. I want to try this recipe and am concerned about finding a few things. Where would I find Kaffir lime leaves? What is galangal? And how easy is it to find? Thanks so much for any tips you can give me on making this dish.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Stephanie, I don’t know where you live, so I can’t make any specific suggestions as to where to buy the ingredients. If you happen to live in NYC, you can get everything you need at Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco Street. Otherwise you should be able to get them at an Asian grocery store (a Thai grocery store would be best). Galangal is a root that looks like ginger (but has a very different flavor).

  • Terri

    Hi Marc,
    Regarding the powdered coconut cream — should we reconstitute it before adding it, and, if so, should the mixture be on the thinner or thicker side? The package suggests mixing with either 150ml or 300ml water. It’s easy for me to get powdered, and it sounds like you think it yields a better result than canned. Thanks!


    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Terri, sorry the text is a little small, the instructions on rehydrating the coconut milk powder is to the right of the ingredient. Basically you just whisk 2 packs of the powder with 2 cups of water.

      • Terri

        Thanks for the follow up . . . I was viewing on an iPhone, and just didn’t see the smaller text!

  • Audrey

    Hey Marc,
    Rendang is not rendang till u add tumeric leaf. If you can get hold of it, try it and u will see the difference (it just smells so good with it).

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Yep, the lady who showed me how to make it had a turmeric plant in her yard. Unfortunately, turmeric doesn’t grow where I live and you can’t buy the leaves anywhere.

  • Pingback: Three Liebster Awards « Polychrome Interest()

  • Alanna Taylor-Tobin

    Oh my, this sounds amazing!!

  • RB

    Would it be okay to use bone-in short ribs?

    • Stephen Foster

      Certainly! I recently re-made it with bone-in ribs. The bones (and their marrow) added plenty to the recipe. I asked the butcher to saw them in half so they were about 1.5″ long, and I used 25% more by weight (figuring that was about the weight of the bones). By all means dive right in and play with the recipe.

  • Pingback: (F/P)orn IV: Three humble imitations of Asian dishes | KUNGIE()

  • Gazarow

    Best curry I’ve ever had!

  • Pingback: Beef Rendang the Indonesian way « Nurul's Culinary Adventures()

  • Pingback: Rendang – The World’s Most Delicious Food | Kuberkata()

  • Cooking Rookie

    Made this today. I did not have all the ingredients, like galangal, and kaffir lime (so I added lemon juice). But overall, it turned out delicious! Thank you for the recipe! Love your blog.

  • Heart Pujiati

    Rendang beef actually is one of Minangkabau Traditional culinary (Indonesian tribes group in Sumatra). The rich taste that consist of various ingredients is a smart combination from their ancestors. if we cook it in their original recipe, we don’t have to be worry about consuming if quite often for the combination ingredients keep you away from Cholesterol danger. My Minang friend said that their food do not recognize any sugar. they never put sugar into the food, garlic n onion are some of the secret. Kapulaga (kind of cardamom) and Pekak also give a sweet taste. while lemongrass, nutmeg,bayleaf,lime leaves are good to avoid you from cholesterol danger. I love rendang too :)

    • rol

      but statistics show that minang people rates among the highest in heart attacks…

  • Aziz Targhi Bakkali

    Very delicious 😀
    but actually it is simmering instead of shimmering

    • Marc Matsumoto

      This is not a typo the oil should be shimmering, not simmering. Shimmering means that the surface of the oil is wavy, which makes it more reflective. When oil shimmers it means it’s very hot.

      • Jerusha

        Hahaha… Just kidding Aziz! But really, I have been schooled about what oil “shimmering” is … Thank u!

  • Deni

    How many does this recipe serve?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      With rice, and sides it should feed 4-6.

  • Jack

    what measurement of canned coconut milk is needed?
    I’ve,looked at similar recipes and they are using 2-3 cans for roughly the same amount of meat?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Jack, 2 packs of freeze dried coconut cream is equivalent to about 1.25 cans of coconut milk. 2-3 cans sounds like way too much as it will take forever for that much liquid to evaporate.

      • Jack

        so I had all the ingredients, used 400ml coconut milk, followed the recipe almost exactly apart from using a frying pan until it was all mixed together then transferring to a pot to simmer on a electric hob. The colour looked the same as the first pic but let to cook for hours and the red oily colour never showed up even after 5 hours cooking and there was still lots of liquid left. Any ideas what is going wrong?

        • Marc Matsumoto

          Hi Jack, if the liquid didn’t evaporate, then the heat was either too low, or the lid wasn’t ajar enough. I’m not sure what an electric hob is, but I wonder if this might have been part of the problem. Is it something like a crockpot? If so, it’s likely a temperature issue as crockpots will not get hot enough.

          • Jack

            I was using a electric cooker, basically no flame just heated pads to cook on, its all I have just now :-( Yeah I think my heat was too low throughout. I never saw the red oily colour appear at all though even after 5hrs cooking.
            My end product looks like rendang but it never turned the dark colour like in your pics.

  • Ray Gazley

    Made this last night with beef cheeks I had on hand… OMG – delishy mo mo nom nom nom. Substituted the long cooking bit in my crock pot then turned it out into a large shallow saucepan to evap the sauce and it was the business. Husband could barely walk afterward, teach him for being a glutton – testament that this is a great recipe. Thanks, RG

    • Stephen Foster

      What a great improvised technique! I’m experimenting (successfully) with using a rarely-stirred, partially-covered pan in a low oven for the necessary “long evap.”

      My only question, and it’s a real one, is whether cooking it all wet for hours, then doing a short evap at the end, is equivalent to the real thing, where the meat meets more-and-more concentrated sauce as time goes by, instead of all at the end. I think I’ll stick with my technique for now, but might try yours.

      • Ray Gazley

        Hi SF – I can see your point there…would require two side by side blind taste tests to confirm. I live in New Zealand in the South Pacific – so I’m not sure if this is possible?

        • Stephen Foster

          I may indeed visit soon. I’m Scottish, so a country with 3M people and 80M sheep obviously appeals to me :-) I’m such a food geek I’m liable to do the experiment myself, but then I’d have a double batch of beef rendang, what a shame…

          BTW: I recently managed to get the meat rendang complexity with halibut. I reduced the sauce for hours, sealed it with the halibut in a sous vide bag, left them in the fridge for a couple days so they had time to get acquainted, then cooked at 132F for two hours. In a long life of cooking, it might have been my finest hour so far.

          • Marc Matsumoto

            If there were a prize for best discussion thread on this blog, you guys would have won it. So nice to see people engaging in informed discourse over food.

            BTW, sous vide Halibut Rendang, brilliant! Though how did you control for the amount of water the halibut releases while sous viding? I’ve found that lighting salting and air drying fish in the fridge for a day before bagging it tends to help reduce the amount of water released when bagged and bathed, but not sure the halibut would survive that plus a multi-day marinade.

          • Stephen Foster

            You’ll have me blushing, sir. I didn’t know about the water loss simply because it was the first time I’d done fish sous vide. (What? Walk first, then run? Pah! Life’s too short…) But it wasn’t an issue: the sauce had been greatly reduced, and I’d serendipitously cold-smoked the halibut while the sauce was reducing, which semi-dried it.

          • Ray Gazley

            A questionable title to hold (The Best Discussion Concerning Beef/Halibut Rendang). But I’ll take it. Great site Marc, am loving the food inspiration.

  • Michel Defays

    This recipe is easy to make, but unbelievably goooooood !!!!!

  • Cris

    Hi there,

    I love this recipe – I’ve made it several times and it’s always a hit.

    A couple of modifications/additions I’ve made;

    – let the bottom burn go dark/almost burn for a richer flavor when you’re still simmering the rendang
    – add fresh curry leaves and fresh/dessicated coconut at the final stage where you’re frying the rendang in its own fat
    – open 2 tins of coconut milk – use 1, and then scoop and use the fat from the second tin. Maybe i’ll just try coconut cream next time!
    – double the palm sugar

    The biggest difference is made when adding the fresh curry leaves though, I really recommend people give this a go!



  • Nay Jade

    i want to taste rendang cooked with marbling meat 😛
    i can find rendang everywhere here.. but with those marbling meat.. i must be wealth enough to taste it..

  • Pingback: Destination Asia: Of Dragons & Spice and Everything Nice – Bangkok & Singapore | Interior Design DivaInterior Design Diva()

  • Pingback: Words()

  • CHL

    Hi Marc, can we possibly shorten the cooking time without loss of flavor using pressure cooker? If so, how should we braise with a pressure cooker?

    • outRIAAge

      That’s an intriguing idea. At first I thought: “Certainly not,” but it’s worth a try. The key would be to allow the pot to boil dry under pressure: a perfect rendang looks like a gruesome cooking disaster, after all. Good luck on the timing, though: there’d probably be only a couple of minutes between perfect rendang and actual cooking disaster.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      The problem with using a pressure cooker is that you don’t get much evaporation, so you’re going to need to cook it for a while on e you open up the lid to get the sauce “dry” enough. One way you can speed it up is to pressure cook it until the beef is tender, e move the beef from the cooker, then boil on high  uncovered until the sauce until very thick, and then add the beef back at the end until there’s almost no sauce left. It’s important to remove the beef because boiling the tender beef on high will make it fall apart.

  • Jay Ryan

    Hi Marc, Thanks for posting the recipe! I just made a batch using venison and a little pork belly for fat and it is so good, I want to eat it now, not wait over night for it to set up. Great thing to cook on a snow day!

  • Roziana Kamaludin

    Why do u choose the powdered kara coconut milk instead of the liquid ones? is there any difference?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      It’s hard to describe, but canned coconut has that “canned” taste to me. The spray dried variety obviously isn’t going to be quite as good as fresh coconut milk, but I like the fact that it doesn’t taste old. That aside, it’s lighter to carry home from the grocery store and smaller to store:-)

  • pooh bear

    Why is there no kerisik…? My Chef taught me to cook rendang with it. will this taste the same without?

  • Bill

    I just prepared this dish based on your recipe, and it turned out awesome! Thanks!

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it!—
      Sent from Mailbox

  • mudassiranwar

    Hi Marc. Beef Rendang is one of my favorites. I am definitely gona try this recipe as ever since I tried this dish in Malaysia I was looking for the authentic recipe and yours seems authentic! I have a query: I can’t find Lemon grass stalks and Galangal where I live, can I substitute them with something else? If so what’s that? Thanks a billion!

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Mudassiranwar, both ingredients are a fairly crucial part of the herb blend that makes rendang rendang and there aren’t really any similar ingredients that can be substituted. Where do you live?

      • mudassiranwar

        Cheers for your prompt response. I live in a small town of Pakistan. I think these ingredients might be available in big cities (though I am not sure) but definitely not here where I live. Regarding Galangal I will ask some herbalist if they have it in dried form.

      • mudassiranwar

        Hi Marc. I finally found galangal here but in dried form. Would it work? If so how to use it? Regarding lemongrass it is available as dried pieces/slices. Any suggestion for this? Thanks in advance for your help.

        • Marc Matsumoto

          Hi Mudassiranwar, glad to hear you were able to find them! If they’re dried, just add them(the lemongrass and galangal) in after all the frying steps when you add the coconut milk.

          • mudassiranwar

            Thank you so much. I am planning to prepare it for a feast. Will update you of the outcome. Cheers

    • vanyali

      Galangal is like ginger. Lemongrass is like lemon. It will be ok with those substitutions.

  • Archangela

    Hi, my English is not really good, and so if I understand this article,
    it is stated that “Rendang is not rendang if it has a sauce”. But why in
    all picture of rendang, it is a little bit wet such there is sauce
    poured into it? Thank You :)

    • vanyali

      Because you are supposed to cook it long enough for the sauce to dry up. So if it is still wet with sauce, you should cook it longer.

      • Chef in South east Asia

        In actual fact Rendang differs from Sumatra to Java to Malaysia and Singapore also even cooked in the Phillipines by the Mindanao and other regional people. Some people prefer a little gravy/sauce because it actually compliments other accompaniments served at the same time alongside the Rendang. Alot of people when cooking the Rendang will actually add a bit more coconut cream at the end for this purpose. A recipe is a guide line for a Rendang choose what one you prefer to your taste!

    • Dai Jiawen

      It’s wet because it’s oil. not gravy. when the beef is dry and brown you can stop cooking. From there you can add water/stock/coconut milk etc to make a light curry, water/stock for a brown curry, or continue fry to a dark brown to make rendang.

  • Cooking Guy from Canada

    I’ve scoured the web for beef randang recipes – and this is the best one by far. Other recipes rely on five spice powder or too many spices, which muddies the flavour of the final product. I’ve made it multiple times, and my guests always LOVE it. Best made a couple days ahead of time so the flavours mellow and meld – which makes it a prefect dinner party dish. It’s important to really could down the sauce, to the point that it tightens and caramelizes. The spices really deepen and the edge is taken off of the inherent sweetness. Absolutely great recipe.

    (Luckily – I live in a city with a huge number of Asian markets – so getting lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, or dried coconut milk is never a problem. Galangal can be a little difficult to find but when I see it – I’ll buy a bunch and freeze it. I find it keeps extremely well.)

    • aims66

      Hi there, when you’ve cooked it days ahead how do you stop it from completely drying out when you reheat it or is that not issue?

  • Dill

    Looks like it is important for the meaty to be marbled. Any suggestions for other cuts of beef etc that would be comparable?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Dill, while marbling is great, having a lot of connective tissue is even more important in a dish like this. That’s why cheap cuts of beef work best. Shank or short rib are the best options, but chuck would work as well.

    • Blake

      I made this recently and I used silverside of beef. Worked a treat

  • LadybirdLynnie

    This is an absolutely beautiful dish! Made it for friends last night and they really enjoyed it. Will definitely make it again.

  • Nicolas

    I added
    Fresh shredded coconut
    1 Star Anise
    1 orange zest ( 1-2 cm sq )
    Juice of 1 lime

    Maybe I will try a stick of cinnamon next time as well

    Prune juice would make it very sticky and against extra chilli maybe…?

    I also added fresh corriander just before serving and some wedges of lime on the side

    Very nice

  • joelovesfood

    By far the best beef rendang recipe I have tried so far.
    Believe you me that it is authentic and delicious as I am a typically fussy Peranakan and the wifey is Indonesian Chinese. Both love to cook and eat.

  • Lilly

    I’m 17 and have grown up with a family that is always up to trying foreign cuisine. I made this last night for my family and they loved it! Thanks for the simple directions and delicious recipe!

  • Hannah

    Absolutely delicious! Followed recipe exactly. Highly recommended.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Hannah, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  • Maggie

    Looks relish! Gotta try this weekend. What’s the best way to reheat this dish if we leave overnight to deepen flavors?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Maggie, I like reheating in the microwave, being careful not to overdo it as there’s too little liquid left to reheat it effectively in a pan.

      • Maggie

        Erm, if stove top is preferred, can we add some water to reheat? I don’t use a microwave…

        It’s cooking in the oven now and the aroma is OMG awesome

        • Marc Matsumoto

          Hi Maggie, that should work. As for the oil, it’s up to you. Traditionally it’s left in, but if it looks like too much for your tastes I’d skim some off.

    • MrsPunkAs

      Hi Maggie I have been zapping mine in the microwave – stirring every 2 mins to even out the heat. It’s great left for a day or two in the fridge to develop first though, like you say.

  • MrsPunkAs

    My 14 year old thinks this is the best recipe in the world. It really is worth taking the time to make it slowly and let the flavours develop and colour. I’ve also found that using fresh or frozen stalks of lemongrass are far superior to the frozen lemongrass paste in the supermarket, it contains too many additives and just isn’t the same.

  • Charlotte Cuttle

    I am thinking of putting this in the slow cooker and setting it on low and cook it for 8 hours. Can this be done? Do I need to do anything different to avoid it burning. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Charlotte, you could, but it’s going to be a lot more work and a lot more dishwashing as you’ll still need to do steps 1-4 in a pan over a stove (you need the high temperatures to achieve caramelization which is where this gets all its great flavor from) and then you’ll also probably want to return it to a pan over a stove for step 5.

      • Oz

        My mom usually uses pressure cooker. The Minangs even cook it which can take days, literally (but for their Padang restaurant in which they need to prepare a lot) :)

        • Dai Jiawen

          Dear Oz,

          how much coconut milk to use in the pressure cooker? thanks.

          • Oz

            for how many kilos of beef?

            Here are the things:
            a. pressure cooker allows the beef to be tendered quickly
            b. If you prefer to have a little bit wet beef rendang you can have more liquids of coconut milk, else if you want a drier version then you just need to open the pressure cooker lid by releasing first the pressure, continue cooking in medium-small heat and reduce the liquid until in preferred condition. If you happens to add a lot of coconut milk, it only will result an “extra” curry sauce to be a best friend for rice.

            750gr of beef chunk 1,5 liter of coconut milk.

            hope it helps

          • Dai Jiawen

            Wow 10 mins. that’s really fast! Thank you!

  • Ben Banerjee

    Wen have done this 3 times now and on the last 2 occaisions we haven’t bothered with step 5. It comes out just as fantastic. Another tip is to leave the lemongrass whole but split it 1-2cm from the stalk into fine strands. This allows you to remove the lemon grass whole at the end as it can be annoying and overpowering.

  • Catherine George

    Hi Marc, question about “chilli pepper flakes” – can’t find anything called that at grocer. Do you mean chilli flakes? Are they the same? You say you used 3 tablespoons – that seems a lot of chilli flakes/very hot?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Catherine, if you’re based in the US, “chili flakes” are usually made with a combination of chili peppers. While heat varies by brand it’s likely that these are going to be spicier than Asian chili flakes (which are usually made with a single type of chili). This curry is supposed to be quite hot (capsaicin is an antimicrobial and rending was originally a way to preserve meat), but use your best judgement on the amount of heat your and your diners can take.

  • Michael Bradley

    #6 sitting overnight without refrigerator, right?

    P.s. did this recipe once already: phenomenal! I did marinate in pineapple juice for an hour to tenderize.

  • mika

    did this twice already, great instructions. we actually ended up doing this once after discussing with my friends that this was chosen in a bbc vote as the world’s tastiest dish. having done it following these instructions to the t I cannot but concur. :) last time I added some toasted coconut flakes in the end, this time it turned out so perfect that there was no need for them. thanks!

  • kawininjarider1

    Can I cook this using a lodge dutch oven?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      That should work well!

  • simpleword

    Delicious take on rendang! My only suggestions would be to add a star anise or 3 and don’t forget the kerisik (toasted coconut) which I think is essential to rendang. Probably my favorite dish in the world!

    • anites

      There are many versions of rendang. The original one (West Sumatran Minangkabau rendang or often called rendang padang) do not use star anise and seldom use kerisik. They are usually used in Malaysian version of rendang. But most of rendang padang recipe call for tumeric leaves.

  • anites

    Another info of this gorgeous dish, in West Sumatra rendang is often made with the meat of water buffalo which is widely available there (people use this animal to plough the paddy field). The meat is tougher than beef and it’s ecxellent for a dish that has to be cooked for a long time like rendang.

  • Debbie

    We ate beef Rendang in Malaysia last year and I have wanted to recreate it ever since!! This recipe is perfectly delicious! Only difficulty I had was finding fresh galangal so I had to use paste but I will definately be making it again.

  • Alcris John Bicada

    We just cooked and Ate Beef Rendang today with my classmates! this was the recipe the teacher wanted us to cook! it was so delicious! 😀 i love it!

  • Sharmila

    Hi, I’m looking fr a perfect rendang recipe.. & this seems to fit perfectly.. The only problem is that, I want to substitute the beef meat with chicken.. So what is the ratio of chicken that I should be adding to this recipe and will there be any flavours that I should add fr replacing the beef meat? I’m gonna use this recipe fr a cooking competition, so I hope it’ll work. Thanks in advance :)

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Sharmila, You can make rending with chicken, but you’ll need to change the recipe a bit as following these directions exactly will get you dried out stringy chicken. In terms of quantity you can probably substitute 1:1, but be sure to use bone-in-skin-on chicken thighs. Breast meat is too lean and will end up dry and gross. You can brown the chicken like you do the beef, and then fry the paste the same way. The part that is different is the cooking time once you add the coconut milk. The chicken should be pretty tender after 45 minutes to an hour. Over cooking it will start drying it out, so remove the chicken from the liquid and then bring the liquid to a boil until it’s reduces down to the thick sauce. Then you can return the chicken to the pot to coat with sauce and serve. I don’t recommend doing the final step as the chicken like won’t release enough oil to do the frying step and this will just make the chicken tough.

  • Bella

    Can i use coconut milk instead of coconut cream?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      yes, read the small print below for canned coconut milk equivalents.

  • Feby

    Glad to see my hometown’s recipe on this website. By the way there are some difference between yours and my family recipe, like the meat didn’t fried beforehand. And also because it means for preservation beef rendang can be enjoyed by its half-dried form, so when its reheated at the seventh day the beef will dry and dark brown ^^

  • Michael

    can the paste be stored in the freezer to use at a later date–made this recipe few days ago and is one of my best tasting curries-thx for the great recipe.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Yep, that should be no problem. How long you can keep it there will depend on the type and temperature of your freezer (a freezer that collects frost is better at long-term storage than a frostless type, and colder is better)

  • Donna

    Hi Marc. I have referred to this recipe time and time again and it’s just lovely. I am attempting it in the slow cooker today. I made the paste and then put it all in on high so that it reduces. I’ll let you know how it goes but my question is… I’ve seen recipes which include tamarind. What do you think? Personally, I don’t see how this dish could be any more flavoursome! Many thanks

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Donna, glad to hear you’ve been enjoying it! Not sure you’ll get the same level of flavor without browning the meat and paste first in another pan, but curious to hear how it turns out. As for tamarind, it’s probably a regional variation. Tamarind is quite tart and will likely make it sour with a bit more sweetness.

  • amrat haq

    Hi Marc. I’ve been looking for a good rendang recipe for a long time. Planning on trying this soon. Only problem is I can’t find galangal in Pakistan. Any idea what I can replace it with?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Amrat, galangal has a very unique flavor and it’s going to be hard to replace. If you can’t find it, your best bet would probably be to just leave it out. The rendang won’t taste quite the same without it but it’s better than throwing in a substitute that changes the flavor of the rest of the dish.

  • Monika

    Hi Marc,
    I’m an Indonesian and rendang is one of our family recipe.
    In Indonesia, we add richer flavor to rendang, by adding “daun kunyit” or “turmeric leaves”. And add also :
    – tamarind water (3 -5 tbs)
    – candle nut (grind)
    – shredded coconut
    This is the original recipe of Rendang, which coming from West Sumatra – Indonesia.


  • Victor Araujo

    So I made this today. All was going well, it smelled fantasic and was reducing as it should. When I got to the last step, I cranked the heat and was stirring and stirring waiting for the liquid to evaporate. I knew there was a lot of oil in there but there was so much liquid I just kept going. Well once I saw it wasnt reducing anymore I realized it must all be oil. Took it off the heat and 10 minutes later saw I burnt it to a crisp. The color looked right the whole time but I guess I should have tried a piece instead of letting it go. So I ruined it on my first attempt unfortunately.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Victor, sorry to hear it did not turn out. Once the liquid evaporates, you’ll start to hear the beef sizzle as it fries, once this starts you don’t need to let it go very long, hope it turns out better for you next time.

  • Karen

    We were moving to Malaysia and I wanted to start learning how to cook food from that region so I googled “easy rendang recipe” and chose to try yours as it seems the easiest to follow and the recipe had photos that will help me as I am an amateur cook and do not know my way around the kitchen very well. Lo and behold – it came out really well! My spouse and I loved it! We lived in Europe at that time and the ingredients were difficult to find fresh (or were too expensive) so I used jarred lemongrass and galangal paste. Thanks to the photos, I knew when my rendang was ready. Now that we are in Malaysia, I’ve tried several Rendangs and I must say, the one I made following your recipe is still our favorite! What is the difference between Malaysian and Indonesian Rendangs? I guess we prefer the Indonesian version. We are headed to Bali in February – would you know where we can get good Rendang?

    Thank you Marc for this recipe! I will make it again and keep it in my recipe box 😍

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Karen, thanks for the nice note! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed my Rendang. Even within Indonesia I think there are a lot of regional differences in the way Rendang is prepared. Same goes for Malaysia and Singapore. What I notice a lot though is that Malaysian rendang tends to be more wet (have more of a sauce). As for where to get great Rendang in Bali, it’s a West Sumatran dish originally so I’ve never tried looking for it in Bali.

    • Judi Kane

      I have had it a few times in Bali.Ubud has several restaurants that serve it.The best version I had was in Sanur at a restaurant called CharMing
      Nonetheless I liked this recipe as well,if not better!

    • indonesian abroad

      Hi karen,
      the most sought after rendang in indonesia for sure is rendang padang so the best chance you get the best rendang experience is asking for the best restaurant padang to the local people, You must try balinese cusine while you there, you might find a new favorite …..

  • fullcontactbabymomma

    I have some beef stew meet I’d like to use up — with the long cooking time, do you think stew meat would work?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi fullcontactbabymomma, “stew meat” is usually the left over bits of a bigger cut of meat, so it’s hard to say without seeing it as depending on the place and the day it can vary widely. You want to use meat with a lot of fat and gristle marbled in. If it’s mostly red with no white in it, it’s probably not going to work very well. But if it does have a lot of fat and connective tissue it should be perfect.

  • Regine

    The exact same thing that happened to Victor happened. Everything was going well. The meat was super tasty and then in the last step which says meat is done when there is more sauce, I ended up overcooking the meat in my attempt to also make the oil disappear. What i should have done when there was no more sauce but only oil was to stop cooking and drain oil, or remove meat out of the remaining oil. I will need to redo. Maybe you want to revise your instructions since
    the same thing that happened to Victor happened to me. Thanks. Regine

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Regine, sorry to hear that. You won’t be able to make the oil disappear as oil does not evaporate. The directions do not say to get rid of the oil, they say to reduce the sauce until there’s ALMOST none left. If you get rid of all of the sauce, the meat will burn. I’m not really sure how I can make this more clear, but if you have suggestions I’m open to considering it.

  • Regine

    Correction to my prior post. I meant “no more sauce.”

  • Regine

    Thanks Marc. This weekend I made 2 of your recipes. The Rendang and Best Lasagna. Your recipes are excellent. I respectfully suggest you had a note regarding the oil that is left after sauce is gone. In my case, I should have removed it as soon as sauce had dissipated. It would have looked exactly like in your picture. I will certainly make it again. Thanks. Regine

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Regine, I’ve updated with a note about the oil. Thanks for your feedback!

  • Regine

    correction to prior post. I meant to write “add” not “had” in front of “a note.”

  • Rick Bushell

    LOL! I was looking for a good recipe for Rendang and I saw Marc was involved and new this was going to be it. After the recipe for beef cheeks awhile ago from Marc I knew this would be good. Making it now. Best part? I grow all the aromatics! Will know tonight! :) Will serve with my version of coconut rice and vegies from the garden.

    • Ewout Lagendijk

      so what did you think of it, Rick Bushell? I’m making it tonight :)


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

All text and photos ©2007-2015. All rights reserved. [ No Recipes ] - Privacy Policy