This Indonesian beef rendang recipe is what you want to try for an authentic taste of rendang. It’s a family recipe that my mom shared with me. And now, I want to share it with you, so that you’ll know the real Indonesian beef rendang flavour 😊.
If you go to Indonesia, you can always find an eating place that does rendang literally in any region/ provinces across Indonesia.
Traditionally, the Padangnese cooked rendang as a signature dish for the festive seasons such as Eid al Adha and Eid al Fitr. Or for celebratory occasions such as weddings, or community events. But nowadays, people make rendangs whenever they like. Although the dish stays as a special dish for Eid/ lebaran.
Types of rendang
Just like most dishes from Sumatra, rendang is cooked in coconut milk with spices and herbs that give a rich aromatic flavour. It is actually quite simple to make rendang, but it takes a lot of time to cook.
There are two types of rendang: one with gravy and the other one is without the gravy. This difference is achieved according to the length of cooking time.
The longer you cook it, the drier the gravy becomes as it evaporates. And the richer and more intense the flavour you get.
The one without gravy will turn into very dark brown in colour, almost as black. Therefore it is called “rendang hitam” which means black rendang. And this black rendang is the real deal of rendang.
And rendang with the gravy is like a curry but thicker and luscious.
The ingredients for Indonesian beef rendang
Traditionally, rendang uses beef chunks of topside, shin, or brisket. Because of its long slow-cooking process, even the hard beef shin will become meltingly tender.
You can also use lamb or goat meat or chicken for rendang. If you use lamb or goat meat, you can cook exactly the same way as the beef rendang.
As for the chicken rendang, you would want to cut down the coconut milk to half. And you may have to cook it half time and leave it with the gravy as it will break the chicken to pieces if you cook it too long.
The spices you need to make Indonesian beef rendang are ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder, and galangal.
Note that in Indonesia, people use fresh red chillies and fresh galangal root.
But to simplify and make things more practical, I use the dried chilli powder. And you can use the dried galangal root or the ready-pasted in a jar. I have cooked with these alternatives, the results were the same. The rendang tasted equally delicious.
As for herbs, you will need ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and turmeric leaf.
Now, for the latter one, it may be tricky and hard to get. Because it is not available at the regular Asian shops or at Chinatown.
So you may have to order online. But please try your best to get hold of this uniquely fragrant leaf. And if you can only find the one in powder form, make sure it’s Turmeric leaf powder. You can put ½ teaspoon of turmeric leaf powder for this recipe
However, if you find it impossible to get it, I would say that you still can make good beef rendang. Although the aroma may slightly be different from the authentic.
Perhaps I should put this coconut milk as the number two ingredient after the meat. Because without coconut milk, your rendang will not be rendang. But then again, without the right spices and herbs, the case will be the same too 😄.
So yeah, coconut milk is definitely a must. You can make your own coconut milk like the olden days. If you want to, here is how to make your own coconut milk:
- Finely grate one coconut using a food grater or food processor.
- Put ½ cup of water in the coconut, using your hand, try to mix and squeeze the coconut and the water until you can see the liquid looks white and creamy. The first water you put in the coconut is the one that can give you the thickest and richest milk. So you would want to mix and squeeze for a bit.
- Then squeeze the grated coconut over a sieve with a bowl underneath for the coconut milk. Do so until all the liquid has pretty much gone from the coconut.
- When the coconut feels dry, repeat the steps 2 and 3 for three times.
I hope you enjoyed the post and like this recipe, feel free to share the post and pin it. So that there will be more people who can benefit and be happy 😊. Also, don’t forget to check my other recipes that you’ll equally love 😉:
- The best Indonesian sweet soy chicken – ayam kecap.
- Indonesian fried chicken – Ayam Goreng Bumbu.
- Lontong Sayur Betawi – vegetable curry with hard-boiled rice cakes.
- Gado-gado Jakarta.
- Mie Goreng – Indonesian stir-fried noodles.
- Indonesian sweetcorn fritters – perkedel jagung.
- Indonesian Mung bean fritters – perkedel kacang hijau.
Thank you and all the best.