Beef For Rendang


Beef for Rendang is a rich, flavorful combination of spices that is best served over rice for a simple, hearty and fulfilling meal. The beef rendang recipe originated in Indonesia, but is based on a similar dish from India, which has been modified over the years. Rendang is a spicy, Savoury and (if you like your food nice and hot) an absolutely delicious dish. But what do you know about the ingredients in Rendang?

Let’s be honest, at first glance a beef rendang recipe may sound like one of the most difficult, involved, complex and time-consuming recipes in the world. In this article we will an outline for the best beef rendang recipe along with the health benefits of eating beef.

Beef For Rendang

Beef Rendang – the best and most authentic beef rendang recipe you will find online! Spicy, rich and creamy Malaysian/Indonesian beef stew made with beef, spices and coconut milk.

Easy authentic beef rendang recipe with beef, spices and coconut milk in a bowl.

What Is Rendang?

Rendang is a rich and tender coconut beef stew which is explosively flavorful and beef rendang is the most popular rendang.

Beef Rendang

Called “rendang daging” in local language, it’s arguably the most famous beef recipe in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

Origins of Rendang

Beef rendang is of Indonesian origin, a delicious concoction from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia.

It’s often served at ceremonial occasions and to honor guests.

I believe the dish came to Malaysia when the Minangkabau settlers from Sumatra migrated to the southern part of the Malay peninsula during the era of the Melaka Sultanate.

This dish is well loved by many Malaysians, especially the Malay community.

Rich and creamy Malaysian/Indonesian beef stew made with beef, spices and coconut milk in a bowl.

While beef rendang is the poster child, there are variations such as chicken rendang and lamb rendang.

They are all absolutely delicious and best with rice, or Malaysian coconut milk rice (nasi lemak).

Beef Rendang Malaysian/Indonesian style ready to serve.

What Kind of Beef for Rendang?

I used boneless beef short ribs or stew beef. The cut of beef will ensure that you have soft and tender beef once it’s cooked.

You have to cut the beef into small pieces to ensure that after the slow cooking, each chunk of beef is tender with the aromatic rendang curry paste.

Ingredient in Rendang

To make the best rendang, you need to have the secret ingredient which is kerisik or toasted coconut.

You also need to cook on low heat to slowly stew and simmer the meat and reduce the rendang sauce.

I read that the Minangkabaus save the dish for months as the complex taste and flavor develop over time.

The Best and Most Authentic Rendang

I suggest that you make a big portion so you have some leftover. The flavors and aroma become more intense the next day.

Do try my recipe because it’s the most delicious and best beef rendang recipe you will find online!

How Many Calories per Serving?

This recipe is only 416 calories per serving.

What to Serve with This Recipe?

Serve this dish with rice, noodles or bread. For a traditional Malaysian meal and easy weeknight dinner, I recommend the following recipes.

Beef Rendang Recipe

The KING OF ALL CURRIES is here!!! Beef Rendang has incredible depth of flavour, with complexity and many layers of spices. It’s straight forward to make, though it does take time and perhaps a trip to the Asian grocery store (though Sydney-siders will find everything at Woolies). Watch the video and drool!

The King of all Curries, Beef Rendang is straight forward to make and has incredible deep, complex flavours. Quick recipe video provided!

Beef Rendang

This Beef Rendang recipe is from a payroll lady at a company I used to work for. It’s her Malaysian mother’s recipe. I still remember, so many years later, how we used to bond over food at the water cooler!

I actually first published this recipe a couple of years ago but I’ve made some minor improvements that will make your life easier without changing the flavour at all. Plus I made a recipe video!

Beef Rendang is the king of all curries!

The King of all Curries, Beef Rendang is straight forward to make and has incredible deep, complex flavours. Quick recipe video provided!

Beef Rendang is a Malaysian curry and is considered by many to be the king of all curries! To say it’s extravagantly delicious is an understatement. There are very few curries in this world with such amazingly complex flavours.

Originally from Indonesia though now more well known as a Malaysia curry, the sauce is made with aromatic spices like cinnamon, cardamom and star anise as well as fresh aromatics including lemongrass, garlic, ginger and galangal.

Unlike many curries, Beef Rendang is a dry curry which means there is not loads of sauce. However, the meat is so ridiculously tender and has a thick coating of sauce on each piece, so when the meat literally falls apart at a touch, it mixes through rice, flavouring it like saucy curries.

If you love South East Asian curries, Beef Rendang is without a doubt one of the best!

Here in Sydney, you can get all the ingredients for Beef Rendang at Woolworths and Coles. Seriously!

Beef Rendang Spice Paste

How to make Beef Rendang

Though there’s a fair few ingredients in this, some of which may not be familiar to you and are certainly not everyday ingredients even in my world, it’s actually quite a straightforward recipe:

  1. Blitz curry paste ingredient in food processor;
  2. Brown the beef;
  3. Cook off the curry paste – releases amazing flavour!
  4. Add everything else in and slow cook until the beef is ultra tender.

An interesting cooking method with Beef Rendang is the way it gets the deep brown colour. All throughout the video, right up until the very end, you will notice that the sauce is a pale brown colour. It’s not until the very end when the sauce reduces right down and the oil separates that it turns brown, essentially the browning of the beef in the oil of the sauce.

The King of all Curries, Beef Rendang is straight forward to make and has incredible deep, complex flavours. Quick recipe video provided!

This Beef Rendang can be made in a slow cooker, but I find it easiest to make it all on the stove. Especially given it starts on the stove with the browning of the beef and spice paste, then finishes on the stove with the reducing of the sauce and browning of the beef (this part cannot be done in a slow cooker).

This is one of those recipes that just gets better with time. So whenever possible, I try to make this a day or two in advance. It also freezes extremely well.

Best Beef Rendang Recipe

  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep: 40 mins
    • Cook: 2 hrs and 30 mins
  • Easy
  • Serves 6

Cover beef shin in coconut milk and spices and add toasted desiccated coconut to thicken the rich sauce in this slow-cooked Malaysian favourite

  • Freezable


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2kg beef shin or skirt, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bashed (see ‘Tip’ for how to prepare)
  • 2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 1 ½ tbsp chicken stock powder (we used one from an Asian supermarket)
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt

For the paste

  • 15 dry chillies
  • 6-8 baby shallots
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, chopped
  • thumb-sized piece galangal, peeled and chopped (use ginger if you can’t find it)
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, chopped

For the rice

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 10 curry leaves (optional)
  • 700g jasmine rice
  • 2 tsp chicken stock powder


  • STEP 1 – For the paste, soak the chilies in boiling water for 15 mins. Drain, remove seeds and whizz with the rest of the paste ingredients in a small food processor until smooth.
  • STEP 2 – Heat the oil in a wok or a heavy-based flameproof casserole dish. Fry the paste for 5 mins until the aroma is released. Add the beef and the lemongrass and mix well. Once the beef starts to lose its pinkness, add the coconut milk and 250ml water. Bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer, uncovered. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking, and more often towards the end.
  • STEP 3 – Meanwhile, toast the coconut in a frying pan on a low heat for 5-7 mins until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Using a blender, coarsely blend it to finer pieces – but not too fine. Put to one side.
  • STEP 4 – After 2 hrs, add the coconut, kaffir lime leaves, chicken stock powder, tamarind paste, sugar and salt to the pan. Simmer for 30 mins more. You should start to see the oil separating from the mix. It’s ready when the meat is tender and almost falling apart.
  • STEP 5 – For the rice, use a heavy-based saucepan with a lid. Heat the oil in the pan and add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds start popping, add the turmeric, curry leaves (if using) and rice, and mix well. Add the chicken stock and 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to the lowest simmer and cook, covered, for 5 mins. Remove from the heat, with the lid on and leave to steam for 25 mins.

Peel off the first layer and use the bottom, less fibrous part only, discarding the top 5cm. Any leftovers freeze well.

Health Benefits of Eating Beef

1. Beef Provides a Large Source of L-Carnitine

L-carnitine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in meat products.

In the table below, we can see the L-carnitine content of beef compared to some other animal foods and plant foods;

Why is L-Carnitine Important?

Among other functions, L-carnitine plays a part in fat metabolism.

As part of this, L-Carnitine does the job of transporting fats into our mitochondria for burning.

It’s important to clarify that our body can synthesize sufficient amounts of L-carnitine for general needs; this makes it a non-essential amino acid.

The body synthesizes L-Carnitine within the liver and the process relies on the amino acids L-lysine and L-methionine.

As a result, deficiencies are rare.

However, research suggests that a higher dietary intake of L-Carnitine may have some positive health impacts.

Various studies show the following findings;

Heart Health 

A meta-analysis of randomized trials suggests that L-carnitine improves patient outcomes. Specifically, it exerts an effect on hypertension, oxidative stress, nitric oxide, and inflammation.

A further systematic review found that L-carnitine is associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality in heart failure patients.


A systematic review shows that higher L-carnitine intake in type 2 diabetes patients improves fasting glucose levels and the overall cholesterol profile.

Weight Loss

According to a systematic review and meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled trials, subjects using L-carnitine supplementation lost “significantly more weight” than the control group.

It’s worth noting that while there are many L-carnitine supplements around, the absorption rate is poor in comparison to beef.

In fact, our body only absorbs around 14-18% of the synthetic form of the nutrient.

Key Point: L-carnitine is an amino acid that naturally occurs in beef. It has a positive impact on various health markers.

2. Beef Provides the “Master Antioxidant” Glutathione

Commonly known as the ‘master antioxidant,’ glutathione has a score of research linking it to;

  • Anti-aging benefits
  • Increasing longevity
  • Preventing illness
  • Reducing the risk of chronic disease
  • Strengthening the immune system

It helps protect every cell in our body from cellular damage, which can lead to many chronic diseases.

On the other hand, a deficiency in glutathione contributes to oxidative stress and inflammation.

As a result, keeping glutathione levels high is important for our overall health.

Subsequently, the question becomes “how can we keep our glutathione levels high?”

Endogenous Glutathione Production and Dietary Sources

First of all, our body produces glutathione endogenously.

In other words, our body uses raw materials (in this case: amino acids) to make glutathione.

For this process to occur, we should have adequate levels of the amino acids cysteine, glutamate, and glycine.

These amino acids are known as glutathione precursors, and each of these amino acids is present in beef.

On the positive side, beef also contains a reasonably high source of complete (pre-formed) dietary glutathione.

Key Point: Keeping our glutathione levels high is critical for good health, and beef is a food that helps us to achieve this. Glutathione detoxes our body better than any ‘detox plan’ or supplement can.

3. Beef is High in Protein and Helps Improve Muscle Mass

There are numerous reasons why we should strive to ensure a sufficient protein intake and these include;

  • Protein is the building block our body uses to repair and make bone, skin, and cartilage.
  • Sufficient protein helps us to build and maintain lean muscle mass.
  • Out of all macronutrients, protein is the most satiating, and it discourages food cravings.

Beef is packed with health-promoting amino acids, and it’s one of the single biggest sources of protein in the human diet.

For instance, a 6oz (170g) portion of 80% lean beef provides 46g protein.

Should we opt for a leaner variety of beef, the protein content can be even higher.

The Importance of Lean Mass

As we age, building—or at least holding on to—lean mass should be a priority.

Research shows that older adults with lower muscle mass are at a higher risk of mortality.

Speaking bluntly, the more skeletal muscle mass someone loses as they age, the higher their risk of an earlier death.

Also, the rate of muscle protein synthesis rapidly drops as we age, making it a lot harder to build and maintain muscle.

Considering this, we should ensure we’re eating a sufficient amount of protein – this is especially essential for elderly people.

On this note, beef is one of the best protein-rich foods out there.

Key Point: Protein is essential for optimal health, and especially so as we age. Beef provides an abundant amount of this macronutrient.

4. Beef is Extremely Rich in Minerals

If you’re looking to increase your intake of various minerals, then beef is one of the best options to consider.

First of all, beef is relatively nutrient-dense in minerals.

Here we can see the mineral content of 80% lean beef;

As shown in the table, beef provides more than half of the day’s recommended amount of selenium and zinc.

Many people have deficiency issues with some of these minerals.

So, the nutritional value of beef can help fight prevalent global deficiencies in iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Key Point: Beef is rich in several essential minerals—especially iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.

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