sarah’s beef rendang

Lordy, Lordy it’s been a while again! I have one more frenetic month coming up, then things should settle down a tiny bit and I hope to be back here sharing recipes with you, much more regularly! Meanwhile, today’s is one of my all-time favourites, and I think the most popular from Coming Unstuck – my beef rendang. The key to the depth of flavour is the spice paste which you whiz together first, then the loooooong slow cooking of the beef to ensure luscious tender results. It is seriously addictive, mellow and aromatic, but with just the right amount of heat…although if you like a huge chilli kick feel free to amp this up! I will be talking about this and a fab vego curry on Breakfast on TV One, on Wednesday morning at 8:50am, and literally have the curry simmering away on my cooktop as we ‘speak’. It smells bloody amazing!!!

Anyhoo, I am videoing the making of it today for Dish magazine (so it will be on the website later this week) and have a million things to do, not least of which is slapping on a good wodge of makeup before shooting! Before I go though – I have so much to catch you up on…I am absolutely loving my role as editor at Dish, and now that the winter issue is on sale and going gang-busters, I am hard at work (with my brilliant team), on spring, Christmas AND the summer issue. In between all of that I managed to nip down to Clicquot in the Snow last week/end and by crikey it was a rollicking good time (more on that in a separate post). Next weekend I’m going to blat down to Welly to see my darling men/boys (I miss them!!!), and celebrate Pog’s birthday, then I have a few more adventures planned for September which I will also fill you in on later – so much happening! Better get my skates on – I would highly recommend this as your perfect pre-rugby dinner for Saturday night, crossing my fingers the ABs blow us away with a great game…

serves 6-8

Spice paste:
3 onions, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic
3 tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
5 red chillis, roughly chopped 2 stalks of lemongrass, outer leaves removed, roughly chopped
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom

2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1.8kg stewing steak such as gravy beef, blade or cross cut
2 1⁄2 cups (625ml) coconut milk
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 kaffir lime leaves, whole
1⁄3 cup good-quality crunchy peanut or cashew butter
1⁄2 cup coriander leaves to garnish
Rice and flatbreads to serve

Put the spice paste ingredients in a food processor and whizz to form a smooth-ish paste. Heat the oil in large heavy- bottomed pot and add the spice paste. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, cut the beef into 4cm-5cm  pieces then add to the paste. Add three-quarters of the coconut milk and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook over a very gentle heat for 5 hours, stirring occasionally. During this time I lay a wooden spoon across the top of the pot and rest the lid on it so that a little steam can escape. After 5 hours, stir in the remaining coconut milk, tamarind paste, brown sugar, kaffir lime leaves and peanut or cashew butter. Cook a further 20 minutes, remove kaffir lime leaves and serve, garnished with coriander, with rice and flatbreads of your choice. I often serve this simply with just-cooked fresh green beans.


  1. I have made this so many times Sarah and it’s such a winner. Looks like my weekend is sorted now… 🙂

  2. Do you leave the seeds in the chillies? Sounds delicious there’s our Saturday night sorted!!

    1. Hi Vicki – yes I leave the seeds in – when you cook it for so long the heat really mellows out 🙂

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