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Rendang Padang Recipe (Beef in Spicy Coconut Sauce)

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Rendang Padang Recipe (Beef in Spicy Coconut Sauce)

Rendang Padang

Photo © Harold Pereira
Rendang could be described as the Indonesian version of draadjesvlees, and any fan of the classic Dutch dish should certainly give this coconutty beef stew a try. While some ingredients can be found in every supermarket, others may require a visit to an Asian specialty supermarket. We've also included a few substitutes in the Tips section.

This recipe has been translated and adapted from the original Dutch in Boekoe Kita cookbook and published on the Dutch Food site with the kind permission of the publisher.

We've always been told that rendang should be dry - the coconut sauce reduced back completely - which is why we were surprised that Boekoe Kita's version was so liquid. While the flavor's there, we cooked the dish for an additional 30 minutes, and then removed the meat and turned up the heat for 15 minutes to thicken the sauce. The choice is yours, which is why we've left the recipe below as it appears in the cookbook.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 candle nuts (kemiri), toasted (in a dry frying pan) and crushed
  • 1 tsp trassi (Indonesian shrimp paste), see Tips
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seed (ketoembar)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seed (djintan)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric (koenjit)
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste (asem)
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil, or other flavorless oil
  • ¾ lb cubed stewing beef (runderpoulet), (350 g)
  • 1-inch piece of galangal (laos), finely sliced, (2cm)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (sereh), bruised (crush with the side of a large knife)
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root (djahé), peeled and finely sliced, (2 cm)
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (djeroek poeroet)
  • 10 fl oz (1 ¼ cup) coconut milk, (300 ml)
  • Pestle & mortar
  • Wadjan, wok or large frying pan


Add the onion, garlic, candle nuts, trassi, dried spices, sambal and tamarind paste to a pestle and mortar (see Tips). Heat the oil in a traditional Indonesian wadjan, regular wok or large frying pan and fry the onion and spice mixture for a minute or two until tender and glazed.

Add the beef, galangal, lemongrass, ginger, salam leaves and kaffir lime leaves and allow to cook for a minute or two. Now pour in 2 cups/1 pint (500 ml) of water and bring to a boil.

Turn the heat down low and add the cocunut milk. Allow the meat to cook gently for 45 minutes (or longer, if desired). Serve warm with white rice (see Tips), sambal and shrimp crackers (kroepoek).


  • If you don't have a mortar and pestle, simply pulse the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor. It's not ideal, but it'll do.
  • Trassi is a fermented shrimp paste that can be found at most Asian food stores. It is also sometimes spelled as terasi, terasie or trassie. You can also used the Malaysian variant, called belacan (or belachan, belacan) or blachang. Or, in a pinch, substitute with 1 tsp of Thai fish sauce.
  • If you can't find candle nuts, leave them out.
  • Double the amount of ginger if you don't have any galangal.
  • If you don't have lemongrass or tamarind, substitute with strips of lemon peel.
  • If you can't find salam, use 2 bay leaves instead.
  • You can use grated lime rind instead of the djeroek poeroet.
  • To cook rice: Wash the rice in a sieve to get rid of starch and impurities. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Add 1 1/2 cups water for every cup of pandan rice. Bring the rice to a boil in an uncovered saucepan over a medium heat. Once the water boils, turn the heat down low and place a lid on the saucepan, tilting it to let the steam escape. Allow to cook until the water has been absorbed into the rice. Fluff the rice with a fork. See step-by-step instructions for cooking rice.

    Where to Buy the Ingredients:

  • Candle nuts and salam leaves can be found at Asian stores.
  • Shrimp paste
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground turmeric
  • Sambal oelek
  • Tamarind paste
  • Galangal
  • Sunflower oil
  • Kaffir lime leaves
  • Coconut milk
  • User Reviews

    Reviews for this section have been closed.

     1 out of 5
    I'm Indonesian, Member mariabouma

    I'm sorry but I'm Indonesian. The rendang recipe that was taught to me did not include the use of trassi (or belacan) or candle nut (kemiri) or tamarind paste or even sambal oelek. Everything is made from scratch. It is a tedious job, but if made properly, the taste of it will pay it off. Cooking time differs from 60 minutes to 3 hours or even more. The slower the simmer, the thicker the sauce, the better the taste. Water is only needed when you want to reheat it. Try using real coconut milk from real grated coconut instead of boxed coconut milk. Once you add the coconut milk, you have to keep on stirring until it boils lest it create curd-like subtance. Once it boils, reduce to flame into gentle simmer and stir once in a while so that it wont burn on the side until the sauce thickens and you have some oil coming out from the sauce. If you use fresh coconut milk, the oil is actually a result of the long caramelizing process of the coconut itself. If the taste is too strong for you, add water and you will have what we call kalio or curry-like dish. Rendang usually last for weeks in the fridge. add a bit of water when you want to reheat it or it'll burn.

    3 out of 3 people found this helpful.

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