The Mighty Rendang

When you mention Rendang, the reaction you get are oohs and aahs. There is no doubt that it is well liked and one of the most popular Indonesian dishes. The tenderness of the meat with the richness of the sauce. This dish is so full of flavour that it is hard not to love it. But in my years of eating Rendang, I still prefer my family’s version. It is not oily like most and can be easily enjoyed. But this extravagant dish is a special dish that only makes its appearance once or twice a year. We will only have it during Eid along with the other special dishes eaten with steamed rice cakes. I will share these dear family recipes here in the near future.

When I want to make Rendang, I have to make it from scratch. That is how you achieve the true flavours of Rendang. The problem is you need a lot of patience when putting this dish together. The meat has to be slow cooked, over 2 hours so it just pulls apart and extremely tender. And you have to endure over 40 minutes of pounding of the grated coconut turning it into kerisik, a thick coconut paste which is the crucial ingredient to this dish. There is no other way to make kerisik I’m afraid. While I was pounding away on the pestle & mortar, I totally can understand why this dish is only served during special occasions and why now more and more people are turning to pre-mixed paste. But if you would like to make Rendang, I urge you to do it the hard way. The result is absolutely mouth-watering.

To make the kerisik (coconut paste), toast the dessicated coconut and pound in the pestle & mortar till you get that texture.

Dried chillies are de-seeded & soak in boiling water before blended with onion and garlic. Galanghal, ginger & lemongrass are bruised with a pestle or back of a knife.

At the beginning of 2 hours when all the ingredients apart from kerisik are mixed together. Middle picture is after 1 hour of slow cooking. And picture on the right is after 2 hours, before the kerisik is added in.

After kerisik is added in, mixture gets thicker. Middle and right pictures, a day old Rendang. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge and re-heated.
Just add a little water when re-heating.

What you’ll need:

10 dried chillies, de-seeded and soak in hot water for 5-10mins
1 large red onion
3 cloves garlic

2 lemongrass sticks
1.5inch ginger
1.5inch galanghal

400g gravy beef, cut into big chunks.
4 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 tumeric leaf (optional)
270ml coconut cream
20ml water

Kerisik (coconut paste)
1.5cups dessicated coconut, toasted and pounded.

Here’s how:

In a medium pot, add all the ingredients apart from kerisik.
Cook on medium-low heat and simmer for 2hours. Do give it a stir every now and again.
After 2 hours, check on your meat, if the tenderness is to your liking, add in the kerisik and stir well to combine.
Simmer for another 5 minutes.
Serve with warm rice.

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Discover the hidden kitchen within you.
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