Beef Rendang

Having never cooked Beef Rendang I discovered that it is like Swedish meatballs, or beef ragu, everyone seems to have their own twist on this dish.

I was sent John Torodes latest cokbook, My kind of Food, and was asked to cook one of the recipes and post a blog. I could choose any recipe from the cook book and I couldn’t resist the sound of the Beef Rendang. I have never cooked it before and what better time to try it?! You can find John Torodes’ original recipe here.

The rendang cooking method originally comes from a way of preserving meat in a tropical climate, originating from Indonesia. It means cookng meat slowly until the liquid evaporates and the meat is tender. The amount of spices gives this dish a complex and delicious flavour.


The first thing I did was to check my spice cupboard and I had pretty much everything except lemmongrass. The second thing I did was to get some shin of beef as suggested by John for this dish from the Black Pig. Shin of beef is an incredibly delicious cut but it needs longer cooking time. Once you have given the meat enough time to cook you are rewarded with very tender, full of flavour meat. It turned out to be perfect in this dish and I always try to get some if I make Pot au Feu.


I read through John’s recipe, it sounded absolutely delicious but I did a few tweaks to it,  hope you don’t mind John! Make the Rendang the day before if you can and let the flavours set overnight but if you can’t cook it the same day, it is still delicious.


Beef Rendang, adapted from John Torodes’ new cookbook, My Kind of Cooking

Preparation time 15 minutes 

cooking time 1 hour cooking under lid + about 2 ½+3 hours reducing the cooking liquids

serves 4-5


  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1.2 kg or 42.3 oz beef, I used shin of beef but any cut that takes a bit longer to cook will work
  • 2 lemon grass stalks or 4 tsp pre chopped lemon grass
  • 4 dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 red chillies, sliced
  • 4 yellow, quite mild chilles, sliced
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • a good piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 onions, chopped fine
  • 4 fresh bayleaves or 2 dried
  • 2×400 gr coconut milk
  • 1 pack cream of coconut
  • 5 dl or 2.5 cup of beef stock
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil for cooking
  • 1 tbsp raw cane sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cocnut oil

I started by preparing all of the ingredients and make sure I didn’t miss anything. I cut the fat off the shin of beef before slicing and dicing it.





Chopping up three onions fine did bring a tear to my eye. I cut the peeled ginger in to small chunks.




I placed the spices for roasting in a seperate bowl. Roast them in a dry pan until they become aromatic.



John’s recipe said to de seed the chillies. I wanted a bit of a kick so I compromised and used five red chillies, seeds in and I also added four yellow, quite mellow chillies.



I thought the yellow chillies are too mild so I cut a chunk, tried it and thought it didn’t taste of much. As we had grown them I cut M a chunk and said it doesn’t taste of much. He didn’t agree with me and sat with his “mouth on fire” for half an hour but refused to say anything until the next day! Heat level in a dish is so personal! As the curry cooked I thought I might need a raita to go with the Rendang to add something soothing instead of cucmber salad.


I couldn’t get fresh lemon grass stalks so had to get some pre chopped from the supermarket. I thought it might not be enough so I added the kafir lime leaves as well.


To make the paste I used my spice grinder. I roughly chopped the ginger and peeled garlic cloves before adding the dry roasted herbs and the kaffir lime leaves and made a paste.




I have to admit the paste didn’t look too much but it smellt amazing. Last I mixed the paste with the lemon grass paste.


Add the oil to a pan and brown the meat in batches, you might not need all of it.




Remove the meat, add the chopped onions and the spice paste and cook the onions soft. You might need a tiny bit of the stock to get the carmelised meat from the bottom of the pan. Add the bayleaves, cinnamon and the sliced chillies.




Stir to mix and to cook the spice paste. John has a great description, cook it until is smells of Asia. It really does when the heat releases all of the aromas. Last add the meat and coat it with the mixture before adding the coconut milk, add the cream of coconut. Bring everything to a boil and mix and last add the stock.

Let boil on medium heat for an hour under lid. After an hour remove the lid and cook for another hour or until almost all of the liquid is gone, stiring frequently making sure it doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the pan and burn.


I was worried as the Rendang was a bit pale when I removed the lid and there was a lot of cooking liquid



As I removed the lid this is what it looked like after forty five minutes.



When the cooking liquid starts to reduce stir frequently or it will sick to the bottom of the pan.


This is where I left it day one and I kept the curry in the fridge over night to let the flavours settle but you can of course cook it in one go.

Once the curry is almost dry add the coconut oil and “fry” the curry, caramelising the remaining liquid sticking to the meat, releasing even more flavour. The curry will now be darker and have a wonderfully rich flavour.




I did think about making a flat bread but in the end I wasn’t sure and decided to make a pearl barley salad with tomato and tomatillo. I grew tomatillos this year and chopped them up together with some black tomatoes and mixed with pearl barley to go with the curry.




I did a raita to go with the curry with yoghurt, cucumber and coriander.




The curry takes a little time to cook but you will be well rewarded. It was hard to choose one recipe as there are so many that sounds not just like John’s kind of food but also my kind of food!

I am, late but I still made it, bringing a plate of this to Fiesta Friday! Hosted by the super talented Angie, The Novice Gardener and co hosted by Mila, Milk and Bun and Kalia, GF Life 24/7. Check out Milas pumpkin pancakes, they look fluffy and very delicious! Kalia really made me laugh and baked vampire cookies, they look amazing!






23 Responses to “Beef Rendang”
  1. Corina says:

    I love beef rendang and this version sounds so tasty! It’s made me want to have a go at making one again soon.

    • petra08 says:

      hi Corina
      I absolutely loved it. I have had it before but never cooked it and it was well worth making yourself! I loved the added chilli kick and the raita, it is a crowd pleaser! I am sure your version would be absolutely delicious! Have a great week! 🙂

  2. heenie says:

    this sounds wonderful. never tried rendang but I do cook shin meat and like it too. photo illustration is very helpful 🙂

    • petra08 says:

      Hi Heenie
      Thank you! Beef Rendang is absolutely delicious and well worth cooking! There is so much flavour it is incredible and it really does taste better the next day! 🙂

  3. Kaila says:

    The spices in this dish sounds fantastic. My mouth is truly watering! Thank you so much for sharing this dish with us at the fiesta. It’s a great entrée as we head to the end of the party. Hope you’re having an amazing week!

    • petra08 says:

      hi Kalia
      Am glad you like it. I think it would work well veegtarian as well with firm todu and vegetables such as butternut/carrot/swede, just adding them at a later stage of the cooking but I loved the beef 🙂
      Not sure where the week has gone but it has been good and I hope yours is as well 🙂 x

  4. milkandbun says:

    Hello Petra! This curry/rague sounds and looks so mouthwatering! I’v never heard this name before, but I love such tender, long-cooked meat! I think I could make a huge pan of this for a week ahead! 😀 Thanks for sharing!

    • petra08 says:

      hi Mila

      Thank you! I have had it but never made it and it is one of those dishes when I asked myself why not! It is well worth the time it takes! It is a rich curry but next time I will make a double batch and freeze some, it is so good 🙂

      • milkandbun says:

        I’ve never tried to freeze ragu/curry.. Do you put it a plastic bags or containers? And how it tastes afterwards- nice as freshly cooked?

        • petra08 says:

          hi Mila
          I have to admit we ate all of it but I asked a neighbour who done it and she said it tasted just the same! She put it in a plastic container and ate it about two months after!
          I will make a bigger batch next time and give it a go! 🙂

  5. This sounds amazing Petra!! I honestly couldn’t stop drooling! 😀 I love rendang! I am pinning this so I remember to give it a go soon!

    • petra08 says:

      hi Dini

      Thank you, I am so glad you like it! For some reason I thought it would be a lot more complicated but now when I know I will make it again and next time I will invite more friends around as it is a perfect sharing dish! I can’t wait to see your version and beautiful pictures! 🙂

  6. So aromatic with all those gorgeous spices Petra!

  7. Oh my gosh, one of my very favorite dishes of all time! This version looks absolutely fantastic!

    • petra08 says:

      Am glad you like it! The patience waiting for it to cook really pays off with so much flavour and it makes the house smell wonderful! 🙂

  8. chefjulianna says:

    Wow Petra! This sounds so awesome!! I have almost all of the ingredients in my kitchen right now! I am going to make your recipe this weekend! Can’t wait and I will report back to you!! 😀

    • petra08 says:

      hi Julianna
      Have you moved in your new house? Am so happy you like it and I hope you will love it! It said in the recipe that small portions will be enough but it wasn’t in our house, we got a bit greedy and had both seconds and even a small third helping! 🙂 Have a lovely weekend and happy cooking! x

  9. Angie says:

    This sounds so gooood!! I love beef rendang and have made it several times with different recipes, but I think your version is a winner! That last step of “frying” with coconut oil is what differentiates it from the others. I can’t wait to give this a try, Petra! Love it!

    • petra08 says:

      hi Angie
      Thank you so much 🙂
      I read the recipe and just knew I had to make a few changes. I loved the extra heat and yes the coconut oil added that extra flavour. M thought it was very hot so that is why I opted for the raita instead of the usual cucmber salad. How I have never done it before I don’t know but I will make it again 🙂
      Enjoy your weekend 🙂 x

  10. Jhuls says:

    Ahhh! This looks so good. I could almost smell it. 😀

    • petra08 says:

      hi Jhuls

      Thank you! It filled the house with amazing smells and it would be a perfect dish for when you are having guests comning! 🙂

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  1. […] Beef Rendang from Petra @ Food Eat Love […]

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