Indonesian slow-cooked beef in coconut milk (rendang daging)

Sri Owen makes her grandmother's recipe for 'rendang' - a traditional dish from West Sumatra. This spicy meat stew is traditionally eaten with sticky rice cooked in coconut milk
Indonesian slow-cooked beef in coconut milk (rendang daging)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 675 g buffalo meat, or beef (brisket/chucksteak/silverside)
  • 3 shallots, , finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, , sliced
  • 1.25 cm ginger, , peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1.25 cm fresh turmeric root, , peeled, roughly chopped, or 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 red chillies, , deseeded, or 1.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp galangal, , chopped, or 1/4 tsp laos powder (ground galangal)
  • 1.25 litres coconut milk
  • 1 small salam leaf, , or bay leaf
  • 1/2 turmeric, leaf, or 1/2 lemongrass stem
  • 1 tsp salt

For the coconut rice (nasi gurih)

  • 450 g long grain rice, , soaked for 1 hour, washed and drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, , or clarified butter
  • 670 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt


1. Put the shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric root or ground turmeric, chillies and galangal or laos powder in a blender with 4 tablespoons of the coconut milk, and puree until smooth.

2. Put this paste and the coconut milk in a large wok or saucepan. (It is generally more convenient to start in a pan, and transfer to a wok later.) Add the meat and the rest of the ingredients to the pan, making sure that there is enough coconut milk to cover.

3. Stir the contents of the pan, and start cooking, uncovered, over a medium heat. Let the pan bubble gently for 1 ½ - 2 hours, stirring from time to time. The coconut milk will by then have reduced and be quite thick.

4. If you started in a large saucepan, transfer everything to a wok and continue cooking in the same way for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. By now the coconut milk is beginning to reduce to oil, and the meat, which has so far been boiling, will soon be frying.

5. From now on, the rending needs to be stirred frequently. Taste, and add salt if necessary. When the coconut oil becomes thick and brown, stir continuously for about 15 minutes until the oil has been more or less completely absorbed by the meat. Take out and discard the salam or bay leaf, turmeric leaf or lemongrass. Serve hot with lots of rice.

6. For the coconut rice: In a heavy saucepan over a medium heat, stir-fry the rice in the butter or oil for 3 minutes.

7. Add the coconut milk and salt.

8. Bring to the boil and cook, uncovered until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

9. Reduce heat, cover the pan tightly and cook for a further 10-12 minutes undisturbed. Alternatively, the rice can be finished by steaming in a rice steamer or by cooking in the microwave or oven.

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