Javanese Beef Rendang

Nancy Lam makes a rich coconut curry from Indonesia try and make it the day before as flavours improve overnight
By Nancy Lam
Javanese Beef Rendang
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2-3
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 8 dried chillies, soaked in hot water
  • 3 cm galangal
  • 2 cm ginger
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 4 cm fresh turmeric root
  • 10 shallots, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled

For the curry

  • 500 rump steaks
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
  • dark brown sugar, to taste
  • 100 g unsweetened desiccated coconut, toasted
  • steamed rice


1. For the curry paste: blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste and set aside.

2. For the curry: cut the beef into 5cm chunks. Put in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Drain and rinse off any scum.

3. Heat half the oil in a large pan or wok and fry the curry paste until it darkens a little and smells aromatic. Add the beef and stir-fry until browned.

4. Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Add the lemongrass, and salt and sugar to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Crumble in the block of coconut and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the beef is tender and the sauce thick and reduced.

6. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the desiccated coconut until golden brown. Blend to a fine powder in a food processor and stir through the finished curry.

7. Serve with steamed rice.

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