Recipe for the weekend: rendang beef

Beef rendang is essentially a favorite regional dish available wherever you are in Southeast Asia, but is specifically accessible in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Beef Rendang is Indonesia's answer to a coconut-flavored beef stew that's best enjoyed the next day.

Beef Rendang is Indonesia’s answer to a coconut-flavored beef stew that’s best enjoyed the next day.

It is an incredible interpretation of the meat stew with the use of coconut. Although we have our own version Kaldereta sa Gata, Beef Rendang is Indonesia’s answer to a mean beef and coconut stew to enjoy the next day. Don’t forget your chillies!

The trick is to make the spice paste and then cook the meat in it. This stew takes a few hours and is absolutely worth the wait.

The trick is to make the spice paste and then cook the meat in it.

The trick is to make the spice paste and then cook the meat in it.

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I love making it on weekends when there is more time to work in the kitchen.


3 pounds of beef chuck (kalitiran), or your favorite cut, cut into cubes

Vegetable oil

A cinnamon bark, about an inch or two

1 teaspoon of cloves

1 teaspoon of star anise

5 cardamom pods

2 bruised lemongrass

3 cups of coconut cream or kakang gata 2 cups of water

4 teaspoons of tamarind pulp

8 kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced

8 tablespoons of toasted coconut

1 tablespoon of sugar or palm sugar to taste

Salt to taste

For the spice paste:

1 or 2 red onions

1 ginger nut

1 galangal knob

3 stalks of bruised lemongrass, use the white part

5 cloves of garlic

Pair of dried, soaked and seeded chillies


  1. Prepare the spice paste by combining all the ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the mixture of spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, star anise and lemongrass and saute until aromatic.
  3. Add the beef cubes along with the liquid ingredients (coconut cream, water and tamarind juice).
  4. Cook the meat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the rest of the remaining ingredients: toasted coconut (toast in an oil-free pan until brown), kaffir lime leaves, and sugar.
  6. Lower the heat to low and simmer for a few hours until the meat is tender. Cover the pot with a lid and wait for the meat to dry, then season to taste.


– Serve the beef rendang with a side of red onions and cucumber to complete the taste.

– You can replace beef with chicken or lamb.

Yield: serves 8-10

The author can be reached at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @kaycalpolugtu and @aplateofbahaykubo.