Beef rendang

Beef Rendang Padang Style

Memories of my childhood always conjure images of my mother and her family’s cooking.

My parents are originally from Indonesia and one of my favourite Indonesian dishes is Beef Rendang or Rendang Daging which is a “dry” beef curry.

Essentially a rendang is an intensely fragrant beef curry, cooked slowly over a low flame and the liquid reduced to the point where the sauce is thick and shiny, not thin and watery – hence why it’s called a “dry” curry.

In my mother’s family this dish is an absolute staple and graces some family dinner tables up to 3 times a week.

My aunty still cooks rendang every week in bulk amounts (up to 2kgs at a time) and then freezes the leftovers to reheat and serve later in the week.

The curry does actually improve upon standing. I always find it tastes best the next day.

The dish does take some time to make, requires close attention and it contains a number of different ingredients. I’ve included photographs with this recipe for reference.

It takes about 60 – 90 minutes to cook on the stove.

This is hardly something quick to whip up at the last minute.

The results however are well worth it.

You’ll notice in the beginning that the curry “broth” starts off quite watery and yellow from the turmeric but as the water evaporates and the sauce thickens it turns into a rich dark brown.

The beef should be tender and the sauce thick with pools of oil settling on the surface when the cooking is complete.

I’ve tried to simplify the original recipe a bit by substituting some ingredients that are difficult to find with those that are commonly found in your local supermarket.

Most rendang recipes call for fresh galangal as part of the spice paste.

I have substituted fresh galangal with more ginger because galangal can be difficult to find in some supermarkets.

Galangal in general has a fresher flavour but in this dish I don’t really miss it when I substitute it with ginger.

I have previously tried using dried galangal slices only to find that even after hours of soaking in hot water the pieces remain tough and woody despite blitzing them in a food processor before cooking.

You wind up with little chunks of dried galangal in each mouthful of curry which messes up the texture and the taste.

Fresh ginger can be found in the vegetable aisle of your supermarket or in a pinch you can used minced ginger found in jars in the spice aisle.

Everyone has their own version of a rendang recipe and the ingredients and flavours vary from province to province and from family to family.

This recipe always evokes special memories of my childhood for me and the smell of it boiling on the stove wafts through the house and fills it with warmth.

This is my family’s recipe from their region of Sumatra; Beef Rendang – Padang style.


Beef rendang
Beef Rendang Padang Style
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
90 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
90 minutes
Beef rendang
Beef Rendang Padang Style
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
90 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
90 minutes
  • 1 kg chuck steak or gravy beef diced in 2cm chunks
  • 2 medium sized onions chopped
  • 1 whole garlic bulb (about 8 cloves) peeled
  • 4 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes optional
  • 1 tbsp water for spice paste
  • 6 kaffir limes leaves or 2 tbsp of jarred kaffir lime leaf strips
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cans coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  1. Peel and chop the onion and add to a food processor along with the peeled garlic cloves, ginger, ground coriander, ground turmeric, paprika, black pepper and chilli powder.
  2. Process the ingredients with 1 tbsp water to form a smooth paste.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot or casserole dish on the stove on a medium to high heat.
  4. Fry the processed spice paste, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass stalks together for approx. 2 minutes or until the paste is fragrant and slightly darker in colour.
  5. Add the diced beef and stir until the all meat is coated in the spice paste. Brown the meat for 2 – 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in the coconut cream, beef stock and water.
  7. Half cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to medium low.
  8. Every 15 – 20 mins stir the curry and half cover the pot with the lid to allow the water to evaporate off.
  9. As the sauce thickens, stir the curry more frequently to prevent the sauce burning on the bottom of the pot.
  10. Continue cooking and periodically stirring for approx. 1.5 hours or until the liquid has reduced and the sauce is dark brown, very thick and slightly oily.
  11. The rendang is cooked when the beef is tender, the sauce is thick and has split with the oil pooling on the surface.
  12. You should be able to run your spoon through the sauce and still see the bottom of the pan for a few seconds before the sauce runs back over it.
  13. Serve with steamed rice and sambal oelek. Enjoy!
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