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Weekend Recipe: Poh’s Beef Rendang:

Malaysian food is the original fusion food combining the best of native Malay, Chinese and Indian cooking to create new, vibrant flavours and dishes.
By Poh Ling Yeow
Date: May 25 2013
Tags: recipe,
Editor Rating:

I'm passionate about Malaysian food and along with my colleague chefs and cooks at Malaysian Kitchen Australia, I'd urge you to try it if you haven't already. This Beef Rendang is a real favourite. It is possibly the most famous Malaysian beef dish. Unlike many Malaysian dishes that involve a rempah (spice paste), this one is not caramelised but is used as a marinade and them simmered until the meat is tender and gravy reduced. Because rending is a dry style curry, it is usually served as part of a shared meal.

Preparation time:  25 minutes

Cooking time:  Minimum 2 hours marinade (or overnight) + 90 minutes

Serves:  4


1.25kg gravy beef or chuck steak, cut into 3-4cm pieces


3 medium brown onions, peeled, roughly chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly sliced

2 ½ tablespoons ground coriander

1 ½  tablespoons ground fennel

1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoons ground black pepper

10-15 dried chillies, seeds removed, cut into small pieces, rehydrated in hot water for 20 minutes (reserve 1 cup chilli water for cooking)

4 stalks lemongrass, white part only, dry outer layers removed, finely sliced

3 cm galangal (fattest part), peeled and finely sliced

3 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced

1 tablespoons tamarind paste – easily found in a jar at supermarkets or Asian grocers

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ cup water

1 cinnamon stick

4 cloves

6 cardamom pods

800 ml coconut milk

1 cup reserved chilli water

150g kerisik (150g desiccated coconut required – see method below)

extra brown sugar and salt to balance at the end


1. Combine all rempah ingredients in a blender and blitz into a smooth paste. Pour into a large mixing bowl together with beef and mix thoroughly. Cover, refrigerate and leave to marinate overnight or for 2 hours at minimum.

2. To cook, transfer meat into a large non-stick saucepan. Add remaining ingredients except kerisik and cook uncovered on a low to medium heat until half the liquid has evaporated. Stir occasionally to check the mixture is not catching on the bottom.

3. To make kerisik, simply dry toast 150g desiccated coconut in a medium frypan, tossing regularly until it develops a deep golden brown. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder to grind into grainy paste.

4. Add kerisik and cook until the rendang develops into a dark brown with most of the liquid evaporated and beef tender. This should take 1 – 1 ½ hours.

5. Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice and fresh cucumber.

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Recent Comments
22 Total Comments
Rachel Chen says: 2020 07 15

I’m confused—All ingredients except beef are under Rempah…but in step 2 it says ‘Add remaining ingredients’. Beef is marinated with Rempah already in step 1. 

What are the remaining ingredients? 

I were about to follow this recipe as I’ve tried Poh’s other recipes before but this one doesn’t seem to be working.

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