Beef Rendang {slow cooker}


Beef Rendang…I love me some Beef Rendang! It’s got to be one of my fav Indonesian dishes of all time. A must have dish when visiting Indonesia and also a fav to make at home. Do you love beef rendang? Ever made it yourself?

Rendang is a spicy meat dish which originates from the Minangkabau region in Sumatra, Indonesia, and is now commonly served across many of the islands that make up Indonesia. Rendang is one of the characteristic foods of the Minangkabau culture and is served at ceremonial occasions such as; traditional ceremonies, wedding feasts and Hari Raya {Eid al-Fitr} and to honour guests. {Or at anytime you feel like it! Ha!}

There are many different translations for ‘rendang’. Culinary experts often describe beef rendang as: ‘West Sumatran caramelised beef curry’. Yum! How good does that sound and it does pretty much sum it up perfectly.

It seems that it’s not just me that loves beef rendang! In 2011, an online poll by 35,000 people held by CNN International chose rendang as the number one dish of their ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods {Readers’ Pick}’ list. Wow!

The popularity of rendang has spread widely from its original domain because of the migrating culture of the Minangkabau people. Many Minang people have left their home town to start a career in other Indonesian cities as well as neighbouring countries such as; Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Southern Philippines. And Padang style restaurants have popped up on nearly every street corner in major cities in Indonesia. These restaurants have introduced and popularised beef rendang and other Padang dishes across Indonesia, South-east Asia, and the wider world.

There are many variations of rendang, although the most popular is rendang daging– meat rendang, which is commonly made from beef, but may also be made from water buffalo, goat or mutton. You can also find rendang ayam – chicken rendang, rendang baluik – eel rendang, rendang nangka – jackfruit rendang, rendang bebek – duck rendang, amongst so many other variations.

Beef rendang is not only one of those great dishes to cook up at home for the family {and is great to stock in the freezer} but it’s also a great dish to share with your school community. How about cooking up a batch of beef rendang to share with your school’s staff on your annual ‘Indonesian Cultural Day’ or on ‘Indonesian Independence Day’. You could even get adventurous and cook some with your students, it’s a great way for students to learn about a stack of familiar spices used in Indonesian cooking and also a traditional dish of the Minangkabau of Padang, Sumatra.

Back in the day I used to cook rendang on the stove top in a saucepan, it used to take me all day, as I would stir it continuously as it was slowly simmering all day long. But, recently I decided to get the slow cooker out and give rendang a new life {and an easier option of cooking it!}. My friend told me that they learned a lot about slow cookers here if you’re in the market for one, by the way. This recipe for beef rendang is really very simple. So, let’s take a look.



1.3 kgs beef stew meat {chuck roast}, cut into 1-2 inch pieces

6 red chillies, stemmed and coarsely chopped {you can remove the seeds to reduce the spicy level}

1 brown onion

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, tender insides finely sliced

1/3 cup tamarind paste {combined with 1/3 cup warm water}

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder {ground chilli}

1 can light coconut milk

2 teaspoons sugar

salt {to season, optional}



1.Cut the beef and put in the slow cooker.


2. In a blender or food processor combine the chillies, onion, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, tamarind paste, 1 cup of warm water, and the spices.


3. Puree until smooth, then pour over the beef.


4. Stir in the coconut milk and cook, covered, on the low setting for 6 hours.


5. The beef will be tender and the sauce will be dark brown.

6. Ladle most of the sauce into a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat to reduce until slightly thickened.


7. Pour the sauce back in the slow cooker and cook on high for 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.

8. Stir in the sugar and season with salt to taste.

*I like to serve with steamed rice, with fried onions and fresh coriander on top and a side serve of green vegetables.


Click here to download a pdf copy of the recipe in bahasa Indonesia and English.

And there you have it, slow-cooked beef rendang to make at home for yourself and your family {or to cook at school with students}. It’s definitely a favourite at my place! And it cooks such a large amount that there are always yummy left-overs for the next day and/or some to pop in the freezer for another day.

Do you love rendang?

Have you cooked rendang at home or at school before?

Tempted to pull out your slow cooker?

What are your favourite Indonesian dishes?


  1. peregrination says

    Tempted to get a slow cooker!!! Seems delicious!
    I love that you can put the ingredients and leave them to go to work and come back: ready!!! that’s magic! xx cathy

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