Beef Rendang

Written by Karen Coakley

Beef Rendang

Nothing beats a good curry. For many years I was terrified of making my own curry, a fear of what spice was what and how to grind and toast them were among the things that stopped me. I tried dried ground spices and jars but found I wasn’t getting that layering of flavours, the freshenss or the grainy texture that I was getting in many of the better Indian restaurants that I had tried.

Last Sunday our eldest son returned to live at home after 4 years of College in Cork, he has got his degree and will be using the time at home to focus on interviews and getting a job with it. For one of these 4 years he studied in Shanghai University, his College course was Commerce and Chinese and year 3 is spent in Shanghai. I’ve spoken before on the blog about the absolute heartbreak of your child leaving and going so far away where everything is alien and communication is non existent. We endured weeks on end without any communication, this is largely down to being resident in a communist state where contact with the outside world is intermittent. Skype calls were what we relied on and Facebook messaging when he had it. Skype proved to be a disaster as there were over 10,000 students on campus and with most of these accessing the internet at the same time every evening after College as our Pride and Joy it left for a rather grainy, all show no action kind of conversation.

caolann skyping

Anyway he is back with a bang in the throws of home, fixed up his bedroom, got a job for a while in Kenmare and having fun with the two youngest in the family who are beside themselves to have big brother home. This means the house is full again, 6 of us to sit around the table and 6 mouths to feed…..this is where Curry comes in so very handy. All my gang love it,  I usually cook my curries long and slow, preferably the day before allowing the flavours time to intensify.

This is my version of Beef Rendang….it was a massive hit at my Cookery Demos when I did my Curry night and it is a big family favourite here. Although it uses 6 Chillies it isn’t very hot….trust me 🙂



  1. For the rendang paste, place the onion, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, turmeric and chillies into a food processor. Blend to form a smooth purée.
  2. Heat a wok and add the oil. Fry the paste over a high heat until the paste turns darker and is highly aromatic.
  3. Add the cardamom pods (crush the cardamom pods gently with the back of a spoon before frying) and the cinnamon stick broken in half and cook for another minute then add the meat.
  4. Fry the meat in the paste stirring all the time, until it is well browned. Pour over the coconut milk and lime juice and bring to a gentle simmer, add the kaffir lime leaveand zest, salt and a pinch of sugar.
  5. Season with salt, stir well then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Cook for between one hour and one hour and a half, stirring frequently during this time. The meat should be really tender and the sauce really reduced and rich.
  7. Meanwhile toast the coconut flakes in a dry pan. Keep a close eye on this, as it will burn really quickly. It should be a lovely deep brown colour when ready. Blend to a powder in a small blender or pound in a pestle and mortar. When the rendang is ready stir into the mixture making sure it is well mixed in.
  8. Serve with your favourite rice, some natural yoghurt, and enjoy!
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