Forget takeaways, nothing could beat this meltingly tender Spicy Beef Rendang! Each piece is caramelised on the outside, falling apart on the inside, and permeated with layer upon layer of creamy, spicy flavours.
Updated for 2018 with new photos!!
I first posted this recipe back in 2014, and it’s a winner every time I make it. I decided it was time to re-shoot the pics. The recipe is the same as before (no tweaks needed).
This is a slow-cooked dish, that requires the occasional bit of attention during it’s 4 hours in the oven. It’s one that’s worth saving for the weekend to ensure a result that is totally worth the wait.
Rendang originates from Indonesia, and is now a popular dish all over the world, due to it’s amazing and complex flavours. There are many different recipes out there, but most (including me!) agree that it’s a slow-cooked dry curry, made with coconut milk, spices and sugar.
Four hours of cooking seems like such a long time for a curry, but there is good reason – apart from ensuring you end up with tender meat.
When you put the spicy beef rendang in the oven, you’ll wonder how it’s going to end up being a dry curry. The recipe starts off with a lot of liquid from the coconut milk. However, during the cooking process, the coconut milk reduces right down, as the flavours are absorbed into the meat.
The oil also eventually separates from the rest of the sauce (you’ll be amazed at how much of it there actually is) . As you take it out of the oven for an occasional stir, you’ll probably wonder if it’s all going to go horribly wrong. Trust me, it’s supposed to look like that.
As more and more oil separates, and the rest of the sauce starts to disappear, that remaining oil will actually be crisping and frying the meat. So you’ll be left with very, very dark, caramelised meat that has been infused with bags of flavour.
Pro Tip: It’s very important to keep a close eye on things during the last 30 mins or so – to ensure the meat doesn’t stick to the pan or burn. And don’t worry, any remaining oil can be poured off and discarded.
If you do like your rendang a little saucier, simply reduce the cooking time, and be sure to drain that oil off.
The Spicy Beef Rendang Recipe:
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 800 g braising/stewing beef cut into large chunks
- 1 large brown onion peeled and chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
- 2 x thumb sized pieces of ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 lemongrass stalks outer leaves removed and softer inside bashed a couple of times with a rolling pin (you can replace this with 2 tsp of lemongrass paste)
- 2 red chillies chopped (variety and amount depends on how hot you like your rendang)
- 1 tsp tamarind paste usually gluten free, but check if required
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 kaffir lime leaves fresh or freeze dried
- 3 tbsp dark brown muscovado sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 800 ml (2 cans) full fat coconut milk
To Serve (Optional):
- White rice
- Chopped coriander
- Green veg such as broccoli or spinach
- Preheat the oven to 150C/300F and place a large cast iron casserole dish on the hob. Add 1 tbsp of the oil and heat on a high heat.
- Mix the cornflour with a pinch of salt and pepper, and coat the beef chunks with the cornflour. Place the beef in the hot oil and brown (you may need to do this in two batches). Remove from the pan and place the beef in a bowl.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan and then add in the onion. Turn down the heat and cook slowly for a couple of minutes. Add in the garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook for another couple of minutes whilst stirring. At this point, you may find that the base of the casserole dish is starting to get quite brown and the onions may be beginning to stick a little. If so, add a splash of cold water to prevent the pan from burning.
- Add in the lemongrass, chillies, tamarind paste, ground coriander, pepper, cinnamon, lime leaves, sugar and salt. Mix together and allow to cook for a minute. Then add in the coconut milk and bring to a gentle bubble, stirring every now and then to ensure nothing is sticking to the base of the casserole dish.
- Add the beef back in and stir. Place a lid on and put in the oven. Cook for 90 minutes – giving the curry a stir after 45 minutes.
- After 90 minutes, give everything a stir again and ensure nothing is sticking, then remove the lid and continue to cook in the oven, uncovered for another 2-2.5 hours. Stir very gently every half an hour (to ensure you don’t break up the beef chunks).
- Towards the last hour of cooking time, you’ll see that the sauce is going darker and the oil is separating and rising to the top.
- If you like a bit of sauce with your rendang then take your rendang out of the oven when there is a lot of oil on top, and still a bit of sauce underneath. Drain the oil off and discard – you may have up to half cup of oil. Gently stir the rendang, and then serve with rice and sprinkled with coriander.
- If you prefer your rendang drier, then leave to cook for longer. Keep a close eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn. Stir gently and often. Drain any remaining oil off before serving.
If you’ve tried my Beef Rendang recipe then please rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing your thoughts and add-ons to my recipes!
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