This Malaysian curry dish is rich and creamy, packed with flavor and spice!

Beef Rendeng

Host Alexandria learned this traditional dish from a friend and it’s become one of her go-to curries! Now, she’s sharing the recipe for you to try at home.

The recipe I’m using for beef eendang is a Malaysian Nonya recipe obtained from one of my closest friends Marieza Undasan-Chapman. She was born and raised in Singapore in a very food orientated family who taught her the art of centuries old Nonya cooking, which is particular to Malay culture and passed down from grandmother to grandchild. She is a truly spectacular cook. I have nothing but admiration for the powerhouse that she is and the amazing mother, wife and friend she has become.

Host Alexandra
Host Alexandria and friend
Host Alexandra and her friend Marieza


For the Rendeng spice paste:

  • 100g grated fresh coconut – I had to use unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 8 dried Kashmiri chilies
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 225g shallots or onions – roughly chopped
  • 30g garlic – roughly chopped
  • 50g peeled galangal or ginger
  • 6 hot red birds eye chilies – seeded and roughly chopped

For the Rendeng

  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil – you can use vegetable oil
  • 3 lbs of braising steak cut into 5-6cm chunks
  • 1 quantity of rendang spice paste – as above
  • 2 x 400 ml canned coconut milk – don’t buy the reduced fat stuff
  • 4 fat lemongrass stalks – bruised – (just bash them lightly)
  • 12 dried kaffir lime leaves – crumbled or fresh chopped 
  • 2 x 7.5cm cinnamon sticks
  • 125 ml tamarind water (All you do is soak the 60g of pulp in 125ml of hot water and leave for 5 minutes.  Break up the pulp with your fingers and then strain the syrupy mixture through a fine discarding the fibrous material and seeds.)
  • 1 tablespoon of palm sugar (sold as a golden/tan paste) – or – you can use brown sugar but palm sugar will taste better in this dish.


To make the Rendang Spice Paste:

  1. Heat a dry, heavy-based, frying pan over medium heat.  Add the coconut and stir for a few minutes until it is richly golden – don’t let it burn
  2. Tip into a food processor and leave to cool
  3. Meanwhile, put the dried Kashmiri chilies, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder
  4. Add this to the processor with the rest of the spice paste ingredients and 100 ml of water.  Blend to a smooth-ish paste.

With that done, prepare the Rendang:

  1. Heat the coconut oil or vegetable oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan
  2. Add the beef and fry briefly until it has changed color but not browned
  3. Add the spice paste, coconut milk, lemongrass, lime leaves and cinnamon sticks and 1 and a half teaspoons of salt
  4. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, add the tamarind water and leave to simmer, uncovered for 2 and a half hours, stirring occasionally, and more frequently towards the end of cooking, until the beef is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened
  5. Remove the lemongrass from the rendang and stir in the palm sugar and season to taste
  6. Serve with jasmine rice

Ready to try host Alexandra’s dishes for yourself? Save your spot at her table in London now!