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Malaysian Beef Rendang Recipe

Saturday, March 01, 2014 | Labels: , , |

The weather is excruciatingly hot and dry in Malaysia right now.  Fears of impending water shortage are rife.  Anyway, I have been meaning to cook this old favourite for a while now but somehow never got around to it.  True, rendang a type of dry curry requires a lot of time to cook (2 hours), a host of spices and fat-laden coconut milk.  In the interests of trying to be healthier, I substituted the coconut milk with natural yoghurt and the usual beef with buffalo chops.  Buffalo meat contains less fat and cholesterol so I thought why not.  The results were still pretty tasty but not as rich as the usual of course.

Apart from the ingredients, the key to this dish is really patience.  If you don't simmer the dish for long enough, you won't get the deep, mahogany colouring of the meat.  If you are a stickler for tradition, do use coconut milk if you like - I have to say that the coconut milk would really make the dish tastier.  However, I did use toasted grated coconut (or kerisik) which still provided enough of the coconut fragrance.  You can either buy these ready-made from any Asian store or like me, you can opt to toast freshly grated coconut which I prefer.  As beef contains more fat, the resulting buffalo rendang was also not as oily as usual.  This dish goes great with rice and can keep well for a few days in the fridge.

I do hope you will give this a try and let me know what you think!

This is a part of my Yuen Chun Recipes, an ongoing project on this blog.


2 buffalo steaks, cut into cubes
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 4 slices and pounded
1 cinnamon stick
6 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
1 star anise
2 cloves
4 cardamom pods
1 cup natural yoghurt
1 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup water

Spice paste:

15 dried chilis (soaked in warm water)
10 shallots (skin removed)
2 lemongrass (white parts only)
3 cloves garlic

1-2 tbsps sugar or to taste
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon light soy sauce (I used Yuen Chun's)


Firstly, pound the ingredients for the spice paste well into a paste.  Alternatively, use a food processor.  Set aside.

Heat up a heavy lidded pan or braising pot.   Add 5 tablespoons cooking oil.  Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and cardamom.  Add in spice paste.  Fry until aromatic.

Add in the pounded lemongrass.  Add buffalo meat.  Stir around well.  Add lime leaves.

Add yoghurt, milk and water.  Put sugar,salt and soy sauce.  I find that adding light soy sauce deepens the flavours and make the flavours meld together better.  Stir around well to coat.  Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours or until meat is tender and liquid is all soaked up.

Serve with rice.  Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a few days.


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Smoky Wok

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