Recipe: Poh’s Beef Rendang

Winter is fast approaching and with the cooler weather we like to try some winter warmer meals and comfort foods. What better place to start than with Poh Ling Yeow, Ambassador for Malaysia Kitchen Australia.

Malaysian cuisine is a veritable fusion of flavours from other cultures. Many of the dishes which have become favourites across the world originated in Malaysia, though that is a fact not always remembered.

One of the most famous Malaysian beef dishes is Rendang. The rempah (spice paste) is used as a marinade and simmered until the meat is tender and the gravy reduced. Rendang is a dry style curry and usually served as part of a shared meal.

Preparation Time: 25 mins
Cooking Time: Overnight marinade + 90 mins
Serves: 4

Poh's Beef Rendang


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


3 medium brown onions, peeled, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly sliced
2 1/2 Tbs ground coriander
1 1/2 Tbs ground fennel
1 1/2 Tbs ground cumin
1 tsp 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 Tbs tamarind paste – easily found in a jar at supermarkets or Asian grocers
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 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


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.
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.
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 a grainy paste.
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 1/2 hours.
Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice and fresh cucumber.

To read Poh’s blogs, find more fabulous Malaysian recipes and learn a little more about Malaysian cuisine you can find them at:

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