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Malaysian beef rendang

Malaysian beef rendang
  • Main
  • medium
  • 8
  • 3 hours 15 minutes, plus overnight soaking time for the chillies

PT3H15M

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Coconut, lemongrass, kaffir lime – the smell and taste of rendang is unmistakable for all Malaysians. It is one of our national dishes. Rendang is often served at ceremonial occasions and festivals such as Eid, or to important guests due to the laborious and time-consuming cooking process. It can simply be eaten with steamed rice and sliced cucumbers.

I watched my mother cook rendang often when I was growing up. There are many different recipes for rendang. Most, like my mother's, use kerisik (toasted desiccated coconut) but my recipe uses coconut cream instead to achieve more of a thick velvety sauce. This recipe is very similar to the beef rendang I serve at my restaurant. I recommend making more rendang than you need as it only gets better and better with time. Having a portion or two of rendang in the freezer is always a winner!

Ingredients

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Method

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1
Soak the dried chillies for the rendang spice paste overnight before using. The next day, add the chillies to a blender with the rest of the spice paste ingredients and blend until smooth
2
Place a pan over a medium heat and, once hot, add the vegetable oil with the spice paste, cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pods and cloves. Fry for a few minutes until aromatic
3
Add the sugar, tamarind paste and coconut milk, stir to combine and heat through for a few minutes
4
Add the diced beef, stir to combine then reduce the heat to low. Cook with a lid on for 2 hours, stirring every few minutes to prevent sticking
5
Towards the end of those two hours, add the coconut cream to a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir, microwave for another minute, then stir again. Microwave for one more minute and stir well – the coconut cream should be a nice golden-brown colour
6
After the 2 hours of cooking, add the darkened coconut cream to the pan, then cook with a lid on for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes
7
Remove the lid from the pan and cook for a final 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking
8
Meanwhile, toast the desiccated coconut in a hot, dry, non-stick frying pan until golden
9
Serve the rendang sprinkled with desiccated coconut and some sliced red chilli, chopped cucumber and rice
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