Friday Night Curry- Beef Rendang

Beef rendang

I am lucky to have a husband who loves to make curries and one of his specialities is beef rendang.  Now this dish is an Indonesian curry and has a coconut flavor to it.  The recipe looks complex, but it is only the blend of spices that make the ingredients look lengthy. Trust me, it is worth putting together for it’s exceptional flavor.

Indonesian food is something that I became addicted to, after working with Holland America Cruise Lines. Thursday lunchtimes, the Indonesian staff would put together a buffet that included wonderful peanut coated eggs, peanut satay and many other dishes. The food if full of flavor but not particularly spicy hot! I always looked forward to the regular dishes and any surprise dishes that they served. I haven’t been to Indonesia, so am glad to have had that wonderful experience of the food!

It serves 7-8 people, so can either be frozen for future fast week night suppers, or great if you are inviting friends over!!

 WINE NOTE; we usually pair a Primitivo from Puglia with this. Negro amaro  is rather nice and can be purchased in the UK from Marks & Spencers or Laithwaites. The USA may have to do a little research but you should be able to find a decent Southern Italian Primitivo in the Italian section!


2 Lemongrass stalks peeled and thickly sliced
3 medium red onions quartered
6 garlic cloves
25g / 1.8oz root ginger
75g / 2.5 oz galangal
3 red chillies roughly chopped (keep the seeds in)
2tbsp sunflower
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1.5 kg / 3lbs beef steak cut into cubes
1 cans coconut milk- 400ml / 14 fl oz
200ml / 7 fluid oz water
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
1.5 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp flaked sea salt
Cilantro / fresh coriander to serve

Cooked jasmine rice to serve

  1.  Place lemongrass, onions, garlic, ginger, galangal & chillies into a small food chopper / processor and blend into a paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed casserole dish & fry the paste gently stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes. Add the cumin, ground coriander & turmeric & cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the beef to the dish & toss into the paste & spices. Cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly until the meat is browned. Pour in the coconut milk, add the water, lime leaves, cinnamon sticks, sugar, tamarind paste, soy sauce & salt.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then leave to simmer  for 2 1/2 hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender & the sauce has reduced to a rich thick consistency.
  5. Serve with the rice & a scattering of cilantro leaves.