Malaysian beef rendang

  • medium
  • 8
  • 3 hours 15 minutes
Not yet rated

Beef rendang is one of Malaysia's most recognisable and universally loved dishes, and is often served at celebrations and ceremonial occasions as well as for religious festivals like Eid. Mandy's version takes inspiration from the aromas of her mother's kitchen – toasted coconut, lemongrass, kaffir lime, cinnamon, tamarind and chilli – to create a dish that touches every corner of your palate. As Mandy says herself, rendang is labour-intensive and gets better with time, so it's always worth making in big batches!

First published in 2019

Coconut, lemongrass, kaffir lime – the smell and taste of rendang is unmistakable for all Malaysians. It is one of our national dishes. Rendang is often served at ceremonial occasions and festivals such as Eid, or to important guests due to the laborious and time-consuming cooking process. It can simply be eaten with steamed rice and sliced cucumbers.

I watched my mother cook rendang often when I was growing up. There are many different recipes for rendang. Most, like my mother's, use kerisik (toasted desiccated coconut) but my recipe uses coconut cream instead to achieve more of a thick velvety sauce. This recipe is very similar to the beef rendang I serve at my restaurant. I recommend making more rendang than you need as it only gets better and better with time. Having a portion or two of rendang in the freezer is always a winner!




Rendang spice paste


Soak the dried chillies for the rendang spice paste overnight before using. The next day, add the chillies to a blender with the rest of the spice paste ingredients and blend until smooth
Place a pan over a medium heat and, once hot, add the vegetable oil with the spice paste, cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pods and cloves. Fry for a few minutes until aromatic
Add the sugar, tamarind paste and coconut milk, stir to combine and heat through for a few minutes
Add the diced beef, stir to combine then reduce the heat to low. Cook with a lid on for 2 hours, stirring every few minutes to prevent sticking
Towards the end of those two hours, add the coconut cream to a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir, microwave for another minute, then stir again. Microwave for one more minute and stir well – the coconut cream should be a nice golden-brown colour
After the 2 hours of cooking, add the darkened coconut cream to the pan, then cook with a lid on for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes
Remove the lid from the pan and cook for a final 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking
Meanwhile, toast the desiccated coconut in a hot, dry, non-stick frying pan until golden
Serve the rendang sprinkled with desiccated coconut and some sliced red chilli, chopped cucumber and rice

As founder and head chef of Sambal Shiok in London, Mandy Yin is at the forefront of modern Malaysian cooking.

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