Thursday, 14 April 2011

Beef Rendang

I love this dish. Its spicy, fragrant, sticky, gooey and it uses a nice cheap cut of meat.

There is a fair old amount of prep involved with all the chopping and stuff. This can be made easier if you get your butcher to cube the meat for you (buy it cubed from the supermarket) and trim off some of the fat if you want it leaner.

Lisa is not so hot (ha, see what I did there) on this, as although Malaysian cooking has elements of the Thai food she likes, it also has fair amounts of Indian spicing which she’s not so keen on. 

Some patience is required in getting the things to cook properly whilst resisting the temptation to whack up the heat.

The Recipe comes straight from John Torode and I only tweaked a little for my own tastes.


1 lemongrass stalk, roughly chopped
20g/¾oz coriander seeds
½tsp cumin seeds
½tsp turmeric powder
50g/2oz block coconut cream
1½ large onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 red chillies, seeds removed, chopped (This wasn’t hot enough for me so add more or leave the seeds in if you like)
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 Teaspoon Chopped Galangal
1 bay leaf
750g/1lb 10oz boneless beef shin, cut into 2.5cm/1in cubes
400g/14oz canned coconut milk
250ml/8¾fl oz strong veal or beef stock, heated

Pound the lemongrass to a pulp using a pestle and mortar. Tip the lemongrass into a small bowl.

Heat the frying pan over a medium heat. Add the coriander, cumin seeds and turmeric and dry fry until fragrant. Tip the spices into a spice grinder or the pestle and mortar. Grind the spices to a powder if using a grinder, or pound in a pestle and mortar until the spices are as smooth as possible. Set aside.

In a wide pan or cast-iron wok, heat the block of coconut cream until it melts, keeping the heat low so that it does not burn. If, like me, you leave it in one block, this takes an absolute age. So if you can, break it up first. It's a bit like trying to break rock but it will save you time in the long run

Melt You Bugger Melt

Add the onions, garlic, chillies, ginger and pounded lemongrass to the pan and cook gently until the onions have softened and the mixture is fragrant.

Add the reserved ground spices and the bay leaf and fry for a few minutes more.

Add the meat and increase the heat so that it browns on all sides. Stir until the meat is completely coated with the spices - this will take a few minutes.

A few Minutes! This takes ages and trying to increase the heat to cook it quicker makes things stick to the bottom. So just be patient and it will happen.

By now wonderfully fragrant smells should start to emit from the kitchen, attracting all sorts to see what's a cooking
Ohhh........ but I like Beef Rendang

Add the coconut milk, bring to the boil, then add the hot stock.
Turn the heat up until its bubbling nicely then continue cooking for at least 1- 1½ hours, stirring occasionally until the sauce becomes thick and coats the meat well.

Serve with Rice, or follow John’s original recipe and add a salad as well
What ever you choose to serve it with, remember to add the chillies, spices etc to your taste. As for the leftovers I haven't worked out what to do with them yet.


  1. Yummy!

    Do you have to use the block of coconut cream? Can you substitute for more milk or tinned cream?

  2. The coconut cream, when it eventually melts coats the onions, chillies etc as you cook them. I don't think normal cream would do this.
    Perhaps some coconut milk and palm sugar would have a similar but sweeter effect.

  3. Cute dog. I like beef rendang too.