Authentic Beef Rendang Recipe (Resepi Rendang Daging)

Beef Rendang or rendang daging, in Malay/Indonesian, is a curry fit for a King. It’s a curry with meltingly tender beef that’s been slow cooked in a rich, aromatic and highly spiced coconut gravy that will keep you coming back for more. And more!

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Beef Rendang, just the way my mum used to make it

Where does Beef Rendang come From?

Originally from Indonesia, going as far back as the 15th century, beef rendang started out life very humbly; it was a method to cook down and preserve tough buffalo meat, the privilege of the rich in the villages of West Sumatra, Indonesia, where it is said to have originated.

The buffalo meat rendang daging would be packed in banana leaves and taken on the frequent long, arduous journeys that many workers would embark on, in their quest for new jobs in nearby cities and villages. It would keep up to 4 weeks, apparently.

But beef rendang has long been adopted and considered a local dish by the Malays in Singapore and Malaysia.

Traditionally, no Malay wedding is complete without beef rendang, or rendang daging (daging = meat) as we would call it in Malay, just as no Hari Raya (Eid) table is quite right without this most regal of dishes. Mine certainly isn’t!

At Christmas, we can’t do without a homemade Christmas pudding, at Eid, we can’t do without beef rendang!

What Makes Beef Rendang so Special?

In my opinion, it’s the combination of spices and aromatics and the low and slow cooking. Galangal, ginger, lemongrass – these 3 aromatics alone are enough to spike any recipe. But add to that, we have coconut milk as well as the toasty and caramel-like kerisik (dry toasted coconut).

The result is a creamy, yet full-bodied, potent, and highly perfumed dish that will enslave you from your very first mouthful.

Nay, from your very first sniff!

Beef Rendang Recipe

So many of my childhood recipes had their beginnings in my granny’s kitchen. However, this beef rendang recipe (resepi rendang daging) belongs firmly with my mother. She was a nurse until she retired, and was also a well known recording artist in her late teens and 20s.

She and my late uncle were popular for the Malay songs they used to sing. Many of those songs were Malay renditions of popular Hindi songs with my uncle doing the translating.

Got a Malay background? Ask your older family members if they know the late Zainab Majid and her brother, the late Razak Majid. That’s mum and my uncle.

I have distinct memories of cooking this with her when it was just the two of us in our apartment (our family was always all over the place!).

My mum, sometime in the 1960s

The method of cooking this beef rendang is something she learnt from her aunt in Ipoh, Perak (Malaysia), where the popular royal Rendang Tok is said to have originated.

  • Basically, in our recipe, there’s no initial sautéeing involved.
  • We just place everything into a saucepan or a Dutch oven, and let it cook away on low heat for a good 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  • At 3 hours, you will have meat that’s practically falling apart, which is the hallmark of a good beef rendang.
  • You can also stop cooking earlier, as long as the meat is cooked, for a wetter curry.

That is another thing about beef rendang – to each his own is carried to another level with this curry, while still respecting the boundaries.

Beef Rendang Ingredients

Some dishes just call for difficult to find ingredients that you cannot substitute for and hope to recreate the same dish. And this is one of them.

Some of the links below for the ingredients are still on It will take me the whole of 2021 to move everything over!

Galangal (lengkuas in Malay)

Click to read more on galangal. The curry won’t work as well without it, I’m afraid.

Galangal has a sharp, floral, sweet and almost piney aroma and flavour. It is a different ingredient altogether from ginger, in terms of uses. Ginger is citrusy and spicy. So these 2 are not interchangeable. No matter what you may read on other food sites.

The good news is, in the UK, galangal paste is easy to come by; it’s sold in larger supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainbury’s.

1 tsp paste = 1″/2.5cm fresh galangal.

galangal root and galangal slices
galangal root and galangal slices


Click here to read more on Kerisik, on LInsFood. As mentioned above, this is just diy dry roasted/toasted desiccated coconut. However, be sure to get desiccated coconut without any sugar added, and ideally, no preservatives.

I will show you how to do this in the video below. All you need is 4 Tbsp of fresh grated coconut or desiccated coconut, and follow the video.


Turmeric Leaves (daun kunyit in Malay)

Click here to read more about turmeric leaves and how to grow them. Turmeric leaves have a grassy and citrusy constitution that is the defining aroma of an authentic Singaporean and Malaysian beef rendang.

Outside of Asia, they are probably not easy  to come by but the good news is, if you have access to fresh turmeric, then you can grow them yourself! As long as the weather is warm.

Just pot up a fresh tuber in compost and keep somewhere bright and mild, like a windowsill. In fact, even in the cold of winter, if you leave turmeric tubers long enough in the kitchen, they will produce shoots.

Kaffir lime leaves are not a substitute for turmeric leaves but they are an acceptable alternative, if you cannot get hold of turmeric leaves.

Turmeric Leaves

Chillies (chili peppers)

This is traditionally a spicy curry. But you can cut those dried red chillies right down for a milder version. I always make 2 separate lots, one a fairly spicy version, the other, a very mild one, for the younger kids.

Speaking of ingredients, beef rendang offers some latitude in the spices that you can use to cook it.

Some cooks will make it more curry-ish, adding cumin and cinnamon to the mix. Others leave all these spices out, no coriander and turmeric either, as in my recipe here.

And there are plenty of folks who add tamarind (asam) to their beef rendang for just that bit of sour and some will add gula melaka, or palm sugar for an extra hint of caramel, along with the kerisik. I must confess, that I chop and change sometimes too!

Ground Ingredients in Beef Rendang

You do need a chopper or blender for this to work best. Add the ingredients in the order that they’ve been listed, giving the earlier ingredients (the more fibrous ones) a better opportunity to be ground to a finer stage.

Coconut Milk – always cook on a low heat when cooking with coconut milk. Otherwise, your milk will split, even the canned variety with stabilisers can be temperamental sometimes.

Can you use other meat to make Rendang?

Absolutely, just substitute it, pound for pound. In fact, chicken rendang, or rendang ayam is also a very traditional dish in these countries.

When cooking chicken rendang (click for recipe), you want to use meat on the bone for a tastier curry.

And, if you know someone who’s vegetarian, I have a Vegan Rendang recipe for them too. Just click here to get the recipe.

Edit 2024: This article was first published on LinsFood years ago. Since then, my kids have all gone vegetarian (1 pescatarian). So I make them rendang with vegan protein pieces, using this exact recipe.

Chicken Rendang Recipe (Resepi Rendang Ayam)
Cook an authentic chicken rendang, the way I've been making it for 30+ years. And find out about its ingredients and their substitutes!
Check out this recipe!
chicken rendang curry in a light coloured bowl
Vegetarian Rendang Recipe (Rendang Sayur)
Vegetarian Rendang recipe, completely vegan and based on my mum's beef rendang recipe. Made in 45 minutes, click here for the recipe!
Check out this recipe!
Vegetarian Rendang photo

How to Serve Beef Rendang

Given that it is a very rich curry, whatever accompaniments you have will lean towards, erm, lean.

  • Nasi minyak, which is the Malay equivalent of pilau rice, is a very traditional accompaniment to beef rendang.
  • Plain steamed rice or flatbreads, are also another great way to serve this beef rendang.
  • Another starch that is popular with rendang daging is Roti Jala, a lacy pancake that is simplicity itself and that I’ve been meaning to blog for a long, long time. My sister in law even got me the contraption to make it the last time they visited from Singapore, about 3 years ago! So, again, watch this space.
  • Lemang is the perfect recipe for to go with our Beef Rendang! Lemang is glutinous rice that’s traditionally cooked in banana leaf lined bamboo poles. While in Malaysian and Indonesian villages, families may cook it themselves, it has long been something most folks buy at food stalls, and especially night markets.
    The recipe here is my version of it, without using the impossible-to-get bamboo poles for cooking! For all of us who no longer live in the countries we were born in.
  • And remember the pachri nenas from a few weeks back? The pineapple salsa? That will go so well with beef rendang, as an accompaniment.
Nasi Minyak Recipe (Malay Pilau Rice)
Nasi Minyak, a fixture at Malay weddings and religious occasions, is a dish of fragrant rice cooked with a little ghee, evaporated milk, spices and pandan leaves.
Check out this recipe!
How to Make Lemang without Bamboo (Resepi Lemang Tanpa Buloh)
How to cook Lemang without bamboo! Lemang is glutinous rice traditionally cooked in banana leaf lined bamboo poles. Let’s do it tanpa buloh (without bamboo), shall we?
Check out this recipe!
slices of cooked lemang

And on that note, shall we get our aprons on?

♥ If you like the recipe and article, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Terima kasih! ♥

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

Beef rendang in a dark bowl with yellow rice in the background

Beef Rendang Recipe (Resepi Rendang Daging)

Azlin Bloor
Beef Rendang (rendang daging), the way my mum made it. A curry with meltingly tender beef, slow cooked in a rich, aromatic and highly spiced coconut gravy.
4.99 from 189 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean
Servings 8 (6-8)
Calories 377 kcal


  • knife
  • scissors
  • ladles and spoons
  • sieve/colander
  • bowl
  • saucepan or dutch oven


Ingredients A
  • 1 kg generous cuts of braising or stewing beef
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised (serail)
  • 2 large turmeric leaves OR 6 kaffir lime leaves (daun kunyit)
  • 1 tsp salt
Ingredients B (to be ground)
  • 3 stalks lemongrass (serai)
  • 2.5 cm galangal (lengkuas)
  • 5 cm ginger (halia)
  • 5 medium cloves garlic (bawang putih)
  • 20 – 30 dried red chillies (cili kering)
  • 2 large onions, quartered (bawang besar)
  • 4 Tbsp kerisik you'll want 4 Tbsp of grated or desiccated coconut, watch the video on how to make it.
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric (serbuk kunyit)
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander (serbuk ketumbar)


Let's prepare the ingredients

  • Cut the dried red chillies in 2-3 pieces, depending on their lengths, and soak them in a bowl of hot water for 20 minutes. In the meantime, get all the other ingredients ready.
  • Roll your turmeric leaves up and either using a knife or a pair of scissors, cut them up into thin shreds. If using lime leaves, just tear the leaves up.
  • Drain and rinse the chillies, and losing the seeds, if you like. Place them aside.

Let's chop up the ingredients into a paste

  • Start chopping your ingredients in the order that they are listed in the above list. Start with lemongrass, chop for 10 seconds, then galangal, chop for another 10 seconds, then ginger, then garlic, and so on. Everytime the chopped ingredients start to feel a bit dry, add a quarter of an onion for moisture. No need for water. Continue chopping/blending until you have a fairly fine mix.

Let's get cooking!

  • Now get a large saucepan or a dutch oven and place everying in, start with the beef, then the ground ingredients, the coconut milk, kerisik, salt, lemongrass and finally the thinly shredded turmeric leaves or your torn lime leaves.
  • Put it on a low heat and let it come to a gentle simmer. Stir to mix everything up, and leave, uncovered, to cook for a minimum of 2 and a half hours to 3, until the beef is meltingly tender and you have a dry-ish curry.
  • You shouldn't really need to stir the rendang until the last 30 minutes or so, where you'll have to do it a handful of times, as it starts to dry up and may start to catch on the base. Check seasoning and add more salt if you think it needs it.
  • Serve as suggested above. The beef rendang will keep, covered, for a week in the fridge. It also freezes well, although the beef will be falling apart even more after freezing.

Fancy some Serunding?


Beef Rendang Recipe (Resepi Rendang Daging), the way my Mum Made It


Calories: 377kcalCarbohydrates: 16.6gProtein: 30.5gFat: 21.7gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 102.7mgFiber: 3.7gSugar: 5.6g
Keyword curry, malaysian recipes, raya recipes, resepi raya, singaporean
Tried this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor or tag #linsfood!
Made it? Upload your Photos!Mention @azlinbloor or tag #linsfood!

Share this with Someone!

65 thoughts on “Authentic Beef Rendang Recipe (Resepi Rendang Daging)”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating