Malaysian beef rendang

The secret to getting this curry just right is the toasted coconut. It adds a delicious flavour and body to the sauce.

More than 1 hour

Serves 4


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Curry paste:

  • 5cm knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 6 red chillies, deseeded
  • 3cm knob fresh turmeric, peeled and grated, or 1 tsp (5ml) ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp (10ml) ground cumin


  • ½ cup (125ml) desiccated coconut
  • Glug vegetable oil
  • 1kg beef shin, cut into chunks
  • 3 star anise
  • 6 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 can (400g) coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) tamarind paste
  • Juice (30-60ml) of 1-2 limes


For serving:

  • Sliced red onion
  • Shards of cucumber
  • Fresh coriander
  • Fresh coconut shavings
  • Strips of red chilli
  • Steamed white rice



  1. Grind curry paste ingredients using a pestle and mortar until smooth, or purée in a blender with a splash of water.
  2. Toast desiccated coconut in a dry pan for 1-2 minutes or until golden.
  3. Heat a generous glug of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  4. Fry curry paste until fragrant, stirring often.
  5. Season meat and add to pot, frying and turning until browned all over.
  6. Add whole spices and toasted coconut and stir-fry for a minute.
  7. Add about 2 cups (500ml) water – enough to cover the meat – and half the coconut milk, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1½ to 2 hours. (Add more water if it’s a little dry.)
  8. Stir in remaining coconut milk, tamarind paste and lime juice to taste, and stir to combine.
  9. Serve curry on rice, topped with red onion, cucumber, coriander, coconut and chilli.



Browse more comfort food recipes here.


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