Authentic Indonesian Beef Rendang Recipe

Rendang is processed beef originating from Minangkabau, an ethnic group in the province of West Sumatra, Indonesia.  However, rendang is very popular throughout the country and has penetrated international cuisine.

Authentic Indonesian Beef Rendang Recipe (Minangkabau)
Rendang (youtube/Che Nom)

Usually, rendang is served at traditional events or local community weddings.  Over time, rendang has become increasingly popular and can be enjoyed at any time and can be found easily in Padang restaurants.

What is rendang?

Rendang comes from the word "marandang" which is one of the main processes of making rendang which means cooking to remove the water content.  However, rendang is often served wet or not too dry.

The process of making rendang is divided into two main processes, namely kalio, and marandang.  Kalio is the process when coconut milk and spices become thick and release a lot of oil (produces wet rendang).  Next, the marandang process is drying the meat and seasonings where the water and oil are completely reduced to the maximum (dry rendang).

History of Rendang

There are many versions of the origin of rendang.  First, rendang is alleged to have existed since the Minang people performed their traditional ceremony for the first time, for the year there is no definite record.

Second, other sources say that rendang has existed since 1347-1375 CE to be precise during the Pagaruyung Kingdom, which at that time was led by King Adityawarman.  However, at that time rendang used buffalo meat.

Often said rendang to be the next creation of Indian cuisine, namely curry.  This is in line with the arrival of traders from Gujarat in the 14th century to trade spices.

Third, Andalas University historian, Prof.  Dr.  Gusti Asnan suspects that rendang has existed since the 16th century when the Minang people liked to travel or migrate to the Malacca Straits and Singapore.  Because of that, the Minang people make dishes that can last a long time on the ship.

One of the records regarding the history of rendang is contained in classical Malay literature such as Hikayat Amir Hamzah which proves that rendang has been known in Malay cooking since the 1550s (mid-16th century).

Another note comes from a Dutchman named Colonel Stuers in 1827. Stuers mentioned in his notes a food that was blackened and burnt.  These characteristics certainly match the characteristics of rendang, which is cooked dry and dark black.

Apart from the long history of rendang that has made it known throughout the world, in 2013, UNESCO designated rendang as an authentic Indonesian culinary dish.

Those of you who want to feel the pleasure of authentic homemade rendang can take a peek at the rendang recipe below.

Also Read: Nasi Goreng, Indonesian Fried Rice Recipe

Rendang ingredients

The main ingredient:
  • 1 kg beef (sirloin)
  • 3 coconuts
  • 3 liters of water
  • Salt to taste


  • 200g red chilies
  • 80g garlic
  • 100g cup red onion
  • 25g ginger
  • 50g galangal

Grain spices:

  • 1 sdm black pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg
  • 2-star anise
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 3 cm cinnamon 
  • 4 cloves


  • 5 lime leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 turmeric leaf
  • 3 lemongrass

How to make Rendang

  1. Puree the seasoning ingredients using a food processor, and set aside.
  2. Roast the grain spices until slightly brown which gives off their respective smells.  After that, grind it using a food processor.
  3. Grated coconut is then mixed with some water, and squeezed to get the coconut milk.  Do this up to 3 times with 1/3 of the water that has been prepared.
  4. Cook coconut milk with seasoning puree (garlic, ginger, etc).  Stir the ingredients continuously until the coconut milk boils, thickens and the color is slightly brown about 1-2 hours.
  5. Add turmeric leaves, bay leaves, lime leaves, and lemongrass.  Keep stirring until the coconut milk starts to release oil.
  6. Add salt and ground roasted spices, and stir until the spices are evenly distributed.
  7. Enter the beef pieces with a size of about 8 cm and a thickness of about 2-4 cm.
  8. Cook the beef over low heat until the meat is tender and the spices are absorbed perfectly about 2 more hours.
  9. To make dry rendang, you have to cook it longer until the water and oil are completely dry, then serve it.
Authentic Indonesian Beef Rendang Recipe (Minangkabau)
Wet rendang (youtube/Eddy Siswanto)

Tips for making rendang

  1. Add the beef once the oil has simmered and starts to release a little oil because if you add it early the beef will overcook and it will get soggy in texture that it crumbles.
  2. Ground roasted spices are usually available in supermarkets so it makes it easier when you want to make rendang.
  3. Choose coconut milk that is still fresh to produce a natural savory taste.  However, you can also use instant thick coconut milk or coconut cream with added water to make it thinner.
  4. The process of making this rendang must be stirred continuously, if beef has been added, the stirring is done more gently and focuses on the bottom of the pan so that the rendang doesn't burn.
  5. Dried rendang can last 2-3 months outside the refrigerator.
Black and dry rendang from minangkabau ethnic indonesian
Black and dry rendang (youtube/Asri Saputra)

Having a fairly long cooking process, rendang is worth it for you to try.  The soft meat covered with super delicious spices can make your tongue feel an irresistible miracle.

Rendang is usually enjoyed with rice, blanched cassava leaves, jackfruit gulai, and green chili sauce.  This combination is considered the most common package if you try rendang at various Nasi Padang stalls.  On the other hand, you can enjoy rendang most deliciously according to your version, let's try it!

Also Read: Peta Bojo, Indonesian Sweet Pumpkin Soup!

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