Beef Rendang Recipe

Beef rendang in an oval white bowl

One of Malaysia's better-known dishes is beef rendang, a slow-cooked dry curry deeply spiced with ginger and tumeric, kaffir lime and chilis. (You'll find chicken, vegetable, and seafood rendang as well.) In Malaysian fashion, it fuses sweet, sour, and savory elements, the curry picking up a creamy richness from two forms of coconut and an elusive tang from asam keping, slices of a sour sun-dried fruit.

Note: Asam keping can be found in dried form at some Asian grocery stores. Can be omitted, but if not using, add lime juice to taste.

Recipe courtesy of Rohani Jelani, owner and instructor at cooking school Bayan Indah Culinary Retreat.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 75 mins
Serves: 2 to 4 servings

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Spice Paste:

  • 3/4 cup grated coconut

  • 15 dried chiles

  • 10 shallots, sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 1 inch ginger (20g), sliced

  • 1 inch galangal (20g), sliced

  • 1 inch turmeric (10g), sliced

  • 2 stalks lemongrass, sliced

  • 4 to 6 bird chiles, optional


  • 1 pound sirloin, sliced into half-inch chunks (any lean stewing beef can be substituted)

  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 turmeric leaf, tied into knot (can be omitted)

  • 2 makrut lime leaves, torn

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 to 2 pieces asam keping (see note)


  1. Place coconut in wok over medium heat and dry-fry until golden brown. Cool slightly before grinding finely in mortar and pestle, or in food processor.

  2. Snip chiles into 1-inch lengths. Soak in hot water until softened. Discard half the seeds and place the chiles in electric blender jug with shallots, garlic, ginger, galangal, turmeric and lemongrass. If you want a hotter rendang, add bird chiles. Add 1/2 cup water and grind to a paste- but not too finely.

  3. Place spice paste, beef, coconut milk, and water in a roomy wok. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat, stirring now and then until mixture is well reduced and thick and oil surfaces—at least 45 minutes.

  4. Add ground toasted coconut, turmeric leaf (if using), makrut lime leaf, salt, sugar, and asam keping (if using). Cook another 5-10 minutes, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary. Take pan off heat. Serve with rice.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
588 Calories
33g Fat
50g Carbs
31g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 588
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 23g 114%
Cholesterol 78mg 26%
Sodium 880mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 9g 32%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 19mg 96%
Calcium 163mg 13%
Iron 10mg 58%
Potassium 1470mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)