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The Ultimate Beef Rendang: Experience the Richness of Malaysian Cuisine

Beef rendang is a well-loved Malaysian dish that features tender meat slowly cooked in a rich, aromatic sauce. This dish combines layers of flavors from spices, herbs, and coconut milk, culminating in an unforgettable culinary experience. Though rendang may be time-consuming to prepare, the end result is worth every moment spent in the kitchen.


How To Make Beef Rendang recipe

Dried Chilies and Lemongrass

The key to a delicious beef rendang lies in its aromatic base. Begin by preparing 25 dried chilies, which provide heat to the dish. Adjust the number of chilies to your preference or omit them entirely. Cut the chilies into small pieces to remove the seeds, then soak them in boiling water for 30 minutes until softened. Drain the water and add the softened chilies to a food processor.

Lemongrass is another essential ingredient for the base. You’ll need six stalks, peeling away the outer layer and using only the white part. Discard the woody green part and chop the white portion into small pieces for easier blending.

Galangal, Ginger, and More: Building Layers of Flavor

Galangal, an ingredient similar to ginger, is crucial for adding depth to the dish. Add two inches of fresh or frozen galangal to the food processor, but avoid substituting it with ginger. Additionally, incorporate two inches of ginger, six garlic cloves, and one onion. Blend the ingredients in a small blender or mini processor, adding a splash of water to facilitate the blending process.

Spices and Cooking: Cinnamon, Star Anise, and More

Heat oil on medium heat and add one cinnamon stick, one star anise, four cloves, and four cardamom pods. Also, include a bruised lemongrass stalk to release its flavor. Add the homemade rendang paste to the spices and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it forms a thick paste.

Incorporating the Beef: Choosing the Right Cut

Add 2.2 pounds of beef, cut into two-inch cubes, to the paste. Opt for beef chuck with some fat, as this ensures tender meat. Coat each piece of meat with the paste and proceed to add the remaining ingredients: 10 thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves, two tablespoons of coconut sugar, two teaspoons of salt, and one tablespoon of concentrated cooking tamarind. Lastly, pour in one 14-ounce can of coconut milk.

Simmering and Caramelizing: The Secret to Tender Meat

Simmer the mixture with the lid on for one hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. After an hour, the meat should be soft to the touch, but not yet falling apart. Continue cooking without the lid until the sauce dries up and the meat becomes tender, caramelized, and darker in color.

Required Kitchen Tools and Equipment:

  1. Cutting board and knife
  2. Food processor or blender
  3. Large saucepan or Dutch oven with lid
  4. Wooden spoon or spatula
  5. Measuring spoons and cups

Tips and Variations:

  1. Adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the number of dried chilies.
  2. For a spicier version, use Thai chilies as suggested by Bea’s late mother.
  3. If you cannot find galangal, you can substitute it with additional ginger, but the flavor will be slightly different.
  4. Feel free to experiment with different cuts of beef, just be aware that the cooking time may vary.
  5. To make it vegetarian, substitute beef with jackfruit or tofu, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  6. Serve the rendang with steamed jasmine rice, coconut rice, or flatbreads.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I use store-bought rendang paste instead of making it from scratch?

A: Yes, you can use store-bought rendang paste, but the homemade version will provide a more authentic and fresh flavor.


Q: Is there a way to speed up the cooking process?

A: You can use a pressure cooker or Instant Pot to shorten the cooking time. However, be aware that this might affect the final texture of the sauce and meat.

Q: Can I freeze the leftover rendang?

A: Yes, rendang freezes well. Store it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop until heated through.

Q: What if I can’t find kaffir lime leaves or turmeric leaves?

A: If you can’t find kaffir lime leaves, you can use lime zest as a substitute, although the flavor will be slightly different. If turmeric leaves are unavailable, simply omit them from the recipe.

Q: Can I use chicken or other meats instead of beef?

A: Yes, you can substitute chicken, lamb, or even goat for the beef. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, as different meats will require different cooking times to become tender.

Conclusion: A Taste of Home and Celebratory Flavors

Beef rendang is a dish that evokes memories of home, family, and festive celebrations like Eid al-Fitr. It’s a meal that brings people together and allows them to share in the rich flavors of Malaysian cuisine. Discover your own celebratory meal and indulge in the delectable taste of the best beef rendang you’ll ever make.

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Beef Rendang Recipe

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  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes


This authentic Malaysian Beef Rendang is a flavorful, aromatic dish with tender meat slow-cooked in a rich and spicy sauce, perfect for special occasions or family gatherings.



25 dried chilies, adjust to taste

6 lemongrass stalks, white part only

2-inch piece galangal

2-inch piece ginger

6 garlic cloves

1 onion

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

4 cloves

4 cardamom pods

1 additional lemongrass stalk, bruised

2.2 lbs (1 kg) beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes

10 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

2 tbsp coconut sugar

2 tsp salt

1 tbsp concentrated cooking tamarind

14 oz (400 ml) can coconut milk


  1. Remove seeds from dried chilies and cut them into small pieces. Soak in boiling water for 30 minutes, then drain and add to a food processor.
  2. Chop lemongrass, galangal, ginger, garlic, and onion, and add them to the food processor. Blend into a fine paste, adding a splash of water to help the blending process.
  3. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat, and add the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, cardamom pods, and bruised lemongrass. Cook for a minute until fragrant.
  4. Add the rendang paste to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.
  5. Add the beef to the pan, ensuring each piece is coated with the paste.
  6. Add kaffir lime leaves, coconut sugar, salt, tamarind, and coconut milk. Mix well and bring to a simmer.
  7. Cover with a lid and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the sauce dries up and the meat is tender and caramelized.
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Malaysian


  • Serving Size: 6 servings
  • Calories: 500
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 800mg
  • Fat: 32g
  • Saturated Fat: 20g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Cholesterol: 105mg

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