Indonesian Beef Rendang, fragrant and complex layers of flavors. A famous Indonesian beef dish. With tender texture, rich flavors and fragrant aroma.. Its no surprise its been voted twice as the number 1 dish by CNN’s World’s 50 Best Foods in 2011 and 2017.
INDONESIAN BEEF RENDANG
1 kilogram beef chuck, cut into 2 inch cubes across the grain
2 tbsp peanut or canola oil
3” inch cinnamon stick (or ½ tsp cinnamon powder)
2 star anise
½ cup tamarind water (sampaloc)
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp chili or cayenne powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup grated coconut or desiccated coconut flakes
500 ml coconut milk (2 cups)
salt to taste
For Spice Paste:
2 onions, peeled and quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
4 fresh red chilies, chopped
4 stalks fresh lemongrass outer layer peeled and chopped from the base (white part only)
3” inch fresh ginger peeled and chopped
2” inch galangal, chopped (optional if not available)
Using a blender or food processor, blend together spice paste; add the onions, chilies, lemongrass, galangal, ginger and garlic together with ¼ cup of water.
Blend the spices to a smooth paste. Just add little by little water as needed to make it easier to blend the paste. Process to a fine paste and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil until its hot, add cinnamon and star anise and fry for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add the meat and saute for a few seconds, add the spice paste and mix well to coat in the fragrant oil for about a minute over low heat.
Pour in coconut milk, tamarind water, turmeric powder, chili or cayenne powder, cumin powder and sugar. Stir it well until all the spices are incorporated.
Cover and continue to cook over medium-low heat until the meat becomes tender. Stir it occasionally about 1 hour and 45 minutes or slow cook it for hours until all the flavors are fully absorbed, caramelized to perfection and the beef becomes very tender
While the meat is cooking, cook the grated coconut by heating a wok or frying pan over medium-low heat. Toast the dried grated coconut and dry fry without oil. Mix it constantly until the coconut turns brown for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.
Uncover the pot of beef, toss in the grated fried coconut.
Stir and let it simmer uncovered over low heat until most of the liquid have evaporated. Season with salt to taste. Remove from heat and transfer into a serving bowl. Enjoy!
For the Kerisik/dessicated coconut:
For quick and easy preparation you may use store-bought desiccated coconut flakes. Place the coconut flakes in the blender and process to a paste.
Traditionally kerisik is obtained by pounding the roasted coconut flakes in a mortar and pestle until smooth to release the oil from the coconut.
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Photo by Steven Bennett