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Recipe: Beef Rendang


Published on

beef rendang recipe
Enjoy this beef rendang recipe as a hearty lunch or dinner.

This is a simplified version of the Indonesian stew called rendang, using readily available ingredients. The prep time for this dish is quick, as this is a recipe that does not require browning the meat.

Type of dish: Entree
Equipment: Food processor or blender, large oven-safe pot
Servings: Makes 2 to 4 servings


  • 2 lbs. beef stew cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • 6 shallots or 1 1/2 red onions, roughly chopped (or substitute any onion if more readily available)
  • 2 red chilies (this was made with Fresno), seeded and roughly chopped *Note: use any red chilies; add more or less to adjust spice level. Double amount for a spicier finished dish. If using dried chilies, soak just covered in hot water for 15 minutes prior to chopping.
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or dried (substitute the zest and juice of 1 lime if not available)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
  2. Place the following in a food processor or blender (or by hand in a mortar and pestle): shallots, garlic, ginger, chilies, and cloves. Pulse until combined into a puree.
  3. In an oven-safe pot with lid, add the beef and coconut milk. Stir in the puree from the food processor/blender.
  4. Stir in the turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  5. Prepare the lemongrass stalks: Peel off the tough outer layer and discard. Cut off the stem at the end and cut off the green tops to end up with about a ten inch piece of lemongrass. Use each stalk whole. Place the stalks on the cutting board and use a kitchen tool (potato masher/pestle/etc) to bang on them, as you would if they would fit in a mortar and pestle, to release the flavor a bit. Place them in the stew whole and you will remove them later as you would a bay leaf.
  6. Add in the fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves.
  7. Bring the stew to a gentle simmer.
  8. Cover and place in the oven for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Stir once or twice during the slow cooking process.
  9. Carefully bring the pot back to the stovetop. *Remember that the handles are hot and use a potholder until they cool.*
  10. Uncover pot. With tongs, remove the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, and discard.
  11. Bring the stew to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring often, until meat is fork tender and sauce has fully reduced away, about 45 minutes more. Stir constantly toward the end of the cooking process.


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Chris Kresser in kitchen
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  1. I made this last night and it was awesome. Therewasn’t even ant left to bring for lunch today! I paired it with brown rice and it was areally delicious! And so very easy to make. This recipe will be one of my staples to go to for something easy and tasty. Thanks!

  2. Wow this looks awesome. Can’t wait to try it. Wonder if I could use bone in beef short ribs?

  3. Do you think cask conditioned ales count as a probiotic food the way sauerkraut does?

    • No, because beer is fermented differently than sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is lactofermented, meaning it’s lactobacilii and other nice little organisms that ferment your cabbage. And it is these cute little beings that are probiotic and help improve your gut flora. On the other hand, beer is (traditionally) fermented using brewer’s yeast, a strain of yeast akin to that used in bread baking, meaning there is no lactofermentation taking place and thus no lactobacilii are present to make your guts happy. It may not be pasteurized, but since there no gut-beneficial bacteria involved in beer making, it just as well could be (in terms of probiotic qualities, definitely not in quality/taste of the beer of course!).

    • Probably Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese supermarkets would have them. I bought a bunch at the Farmer’s market but I do live in an area that has a lot of Asians. I use a stalk whenever I make that type of dish and store the rest in the freezer.