My Hand At Whipping Up That Tasty Beef Rendang


Come to me oh my Beef Rendang.

I endured the hunger pangs before lunch time by researching a little on what to cook for dinner today. And somehow, that little gastronomic glut in my body started craving for that ubiquitous savoury sweet taste of Rendang as it reminisced the one I had at Causeway Point some time back.

Googling the recipe, I chanced the one at RasaMalaysia. The pictures made me drool over my little handphone screen. I took their recipe as a reference guide and did a little research of my own to add some ingredients or substitute some with others.

The only hiccup was that I could not attain some ingredients such as the much needed Cardamom and the Langkwas (Blue Ginger or Galangal). Imagine me trudging through the downpour towards both Cold Storage and NTUC Fairprice with not a single piece in sight.

Well apart from that, if you are interested in cooking up some mouthwatering, lovingly spiced rempah with that hint of sweetness, tanginess and the all too favourite touch of pepperish fire, read the full article for the recipe =) I am sure you will enjoy cooking it as much as I did.


I like my Beef Rendang with a little more gravy, so I didn’t whittle down the liquids to a dry mix.

Beef Rendang

1 1/2  (1 kg) pounds boneless beef short ribs / beef brisket**
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods (Substituted mine with 2 teaspoons of Cumin)
1 lemongrass cut into 4 Inch long piece and pounded
200 ml thick coconut milk/ trim coconut milk
200 cup water
2 teaspoons Assam pulp ( soaked in some warm water and discard seeds )
6 kaffir lime leaves/ 10 Fresh basil leaves
6 tablespoons toasted desiccated coconut *(See my note below)
1 tablespoon gula Melaka/ 2 tablespoons brown sugar with 2 tablespoons Kecap Manis
8 Ground candle nuts

Spice paste
10 shallot
1 inch galangal ( blue Ginger ) / (Substituted mine with Young ginger)
3 stalks lemongrass, white parts only
5 Clove garlic
1 inch Ginger
10 to 12 dried chillies soaked in warm water and seeded

  1. Blend the spice paste ingredients
  2. Heat oil. Fry spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and cardamom
  3. Add beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir fry for 1 minute
  4. Add coconut milk, Assam juice and water. Simmer in medium heat. Stirring frequently until the meat is cooked.
  5. Add lime leaves toasted coconut and sugar. Stir well
  6. Heat to low. Cover and leave to simmer for 1.5 hours
  7. Add salt and sugar to taste
  8. Serve hot with bread or rice =)

*I couldn’t obtain any desiccated coconut, so what I did was to buy 1 fresh coconut and removed the flesh. After which I chopped finely and toasted it in a dry pan until it was slightly golden brown on both sides. You might want to try this. But still nothing beats the real deal.

**I only managed to secure Topside beef from Cold Storage for this recipe and the result was a tender meat which was slightly chewy but yet juicy and whole. Though one thing for certain, choose parts of the beef where there are slight layers of fat still present. It would make a stark difference to the dish itself. As I always say, “Nothing substitutes a good layer of fat”

I had much fun in cooking this dish and the whole family enjoyed it. One of the most favoured dishes in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, it is perfect for the cold wintry night. Or if you are in Singapore, for that heavy downpour that is about to come your way.