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Beef rendang

Elizabeth Haigh

A rich, coconutty beef stew from Elizabeth Haigh’s new cookbook, Makan 

Recipe Meta


15 mins


4-5½ hours






  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1kg boneless beef shin or ox cheek, cut into 5cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • a 240ml can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

For the rempah

  • 5cm piece of fresh galangal, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2½cm piece of root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, wood ends removed and stalks roughly chopped
  • 2 small red onions, cut into large chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled 3-6 fresh, medium-hot, red Dutch chillies (depending on personal taste)


Heat a non-stick frying pan on a low heat and add the desiccated coconut. Dry-fry the coconut, constantly moving it around in the pan, until golden brown. Cool, then grind in a blender to a smooth paste. Tip into a small bowl.

Grind the ingredients for the rempah in the cleaned blender, adding them in the order listed, along with 2 tbsp water to make a smooth paste. Add a splash of water if necessary.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based flameproof casserole and add the rempah and cinnamon sticks. Fry, constantly stirring, on a low heat for about 5 mins or until fragrant.

Preheat the oven to 140C. Add the beef to the casserole and fry until browned all over and well coated with the spice paste. Add the coriander, cumin, desiccated coconut paste and lime leaves. Stir until well mixed, then add the coconut milk followed by 2 tsp salt and the soy sauce. Stir. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 20 mins.

Transfer the casserole to the oven and leave to braise for 4-5 hours or until the beef is really tender. Give the mixture a stir every now and then, and you should be left with a rather dry, braised curry with not much liquid other than the oils from the coconut and meat. (You can also use a slow cooker.)

When ready, give the rendang a good stir and serve with plain steamed rice.

Recipe from Makan: Recipes from the Heart of Singapore (Bloomsbury Absolute)
Image: Kris Kirkham

Where to buy these ingredients

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