Super Tender Beef Rendang Recipe

There are a number of different styles of curry from all different parts of the world, and while curries from the Indian sub-continent may be some of the most well-known, the Indonesian island of Sumatra is home to a very notable type of curry: rendang. A rich, flavorful dish that is made with meat, coconut, and a variety of aromatic spices, it is traditionally cooked over a long period of time until the meat is incredibly tender and the sauce has reduced right down, resulting in a much drier dish than other forms of curry.

While this recipe, created by Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye, takes a long time, it doesn't take a lot of work. The assembly is relatively quick, and the dish does the hard work itself as it simmers away on the stovetop. Thanks to the long stewing time, the beef ends up super soft and juicy, and the flavors of the spices and the coconut become really concentrated and rich as the liquid evaporates.

Conventionally a rendang is quite spicy, but the recipe can be easily adapted if you're catering for those who prefer a milder dish. It goes perfectly with simple sides such as rice and fresh veggies to add brightness and crunch to the meal. Read on to find out how you can make this super tender beef rendang for yourself.

Gather the ingredients for this super tender beef rendang

To begin this super tender beef rendang recipe, first you will need to gather the ingredients. For the rendang paste, you will want a red onion, some lemongrass, garlic, fresh ginger, and red chiles, as well as some galangal. You'll also need desiccated coconut, ground coriander, ground cumin, lime leaves, a cinnamon stick, star anise, tamarind paste, and coconut milk.

Because you'll be stewing the meat for a long time this recipe calls braising steak, for example, chuck steak, which is perfect for slow cooking as it has a high content of fat and lots of connective tissue. This breaks down over time to give the dish heaps of flavor and mouth-meltingly tender meat.

Toast the coconut

Rendang typically contains an ingredient known as kerisik, which is an important ingredient in Indonesian cooking and is a type of toasted, pounded coconut. While it may be possible to find this ingredient ready prepared in certain supermarkets, if you are unable to locate it on the shelves it is simple to recreate at home using desiccated coconut. Simply fry it in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring it regularly as it browns. Once it is a beautiful golden brown color, remove it from the heat and set it aside.

Make the curry paste

To make the curry paste blend together the red onion, lemongrass, galangal, garlic cloves, ginger, and the chiles in a food processor until it is smooth. Then, to begin the rendang, fry the mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes, before adding the ground coriander, ground cumin, the cinnamon stick, and star anise. After a couple more minutes, you'll end up with a really fragrant base for the rendang, and you'll be ready to add the beef.

Add the beef and liquids

Add the braising beef to the pan with the curry paste and coat it thoroughly in the spices. Unlike other meat-based dishes, this rendang doesn't rely on browning the meat first to add flavor. Due to the type of beef and the amount of time it is cooked, it imparts loads of wonderful flavor to the dish by itself. Season the beef with salt and pepper and cook it in the rendang base just until you can no longer see any pink. Then, add smashed lemongrass to the pan along with the tamarind paste, beef stock, coconut milk, lime leaves, toasted coconut, and the brown sugar. 

Simmer the rendang

Once all the ingredients are in the pan, give it a good stir and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Let the rendang cook for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the liquids have mostly evaporated and the beef is melt-in-your-mouth tender. The mixture will darken as it thickens and will be ready when there is only a very small amount of liquid left in the pan. When it is time to serve, coconut rice makes a delicious companion to this rich and spicy stew, as it will complement and enhance the coconut flavors in the curry.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 3 days. 

Super Tender Beef Rendang Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
Thanks to the long stewing time, this beef rendang is super tender and juicy, with the flavors of the spices and coconut becoming rich as the liquid evaporates.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Super tender beef rendang
Total time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • ⅓ cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, divided
  • 1 tablespoon galangal
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 3 red chiles, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise
  • 2.2 pound braising steak
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 1 ¼ cups beef stock
  • 1 ¼ cups coconut milk
  • 4 lime leaves, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  1. Add the desiccated coconut to a frying pan and heat it to a medium heat. Gently toast the coconut for 5 to 6 minutes until it is turning golden and smells fragrant. Remove from the pan and set to one side.
  2. Make the curry paste by adding the red onion, 1 chopped stalk of lemongrass, galangal, garlic cloves, ginger, and chilies to a food processor and blending until smooth.
  3. Heat up a large, heavy-bottomed pan to a medium heat. Add the cooking oil and then the curry paste, and fry for 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ground coriander, ground cumin, cinnamon stick, and star anise to the pan and fry everything together for a minute or two.
  5. Add the braising steak to the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and then cook it in the spices until you can no longer see any pink.
  6. Carefully smash the remaining stalk of lemongrass and add it to the pan, along with the tamarind paste, beef stock, and coconut milk.
  7. Then, add the lime leaves, the toasted coconut, and brown sugar, and stir everything in. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and let the rendang curry cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the liquids have mostly gone and the beef is incredibly tender.
Calories per Serving 907
Total Fat 68.1 g
Saturated Fat 32.9 g
Trans Fat 2.3 g
Cholesterol 154.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 20.7 g
Dietary Fiber 3.2 g
Total Sugars 6.8 g
Sodium 1,174.4 mg
Protein 55.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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