Spicy Beef Rendang from Scratch

This spicy beef Rendang takes me to exotic destinations as soon as I begin grinding the paste. The aroma fills the air and takes me back to places we’ve visited and traditional street vendors we’ve eaten at. Personally I love Rendang in the warmer months of the year. For me, Indian Currys are for cooler weather, while Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai Currys are for Summer. There is something so completely satisfying about creating a curry from scratch. The time is completely worth it. It’s an experience. I recently made this one for a good friend who inspired my dumpling recipe that had a baby and it made me happy. Hope it brings your family as much joy as it brought me as I created it.

Spicy Beef Rendang from Scratch

Spice Paste Ingredients

  • 1 stalk lemon grass
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger
  • 2 Tb fish sauce
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 6+ cardamom pods
  • 6+ cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seed+
  • 2 tsp coriander seed
  • 1Tb dried chilli

To Saute:

  • 2 Tb Peanut oil
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 1.5kg Beef chunks
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 4 long red chillies dried
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika*?
  • 5 spring onions
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut


  1. In a mortar and pestle pound spice mix ingredients to a paste.
  2. Heat a heavy based pot on medium heat, add oil and onions. Stir until soft, then add pounded spice mix.
  3. When spice mix begins to separate or begin to catch add beef, spring onions, kaffir lime, cinnamon sticks, star anise, red chilli, tumeric, chilli powder, and paprika. Stir for a minute.
  4. Add, coconut milk and water.
  5. Allow to simmer for two hours until meat is soft and liquid reduced. (turn up the heat if not reduced enough).
  6. Add toasted coconut and lime and reduced for another 30 mins or to your liking. *Some Rendang Curries are quite dry and others are still saucy. this works either way just depends on how much liquid you reduce.

Serve with coconut rice and a fresh salad of cucumber, lettuce, carrot and fresh lime.

Beef rendang Indonesian
Step 3
Indonesian Beef Rendang
Step 4
Spicy Indonesian Beef Rendang
Last step before 30 mins of simmering


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