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Beef Rendang

For six to eight servings.


1 cup desiccated coconut

Spice paste:

  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 to 3cm piece root ginger
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) chilli powder ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 x 400ml light coconut milk or cream ­­
  • ­11.2kg gravy beef, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind paste or 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2­-3 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced


  • Heat the coconut in a large, dry frypan, stirring frequently until it is a uniform golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Combine the spice paste ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until it forms a smooth-­looking paste.
  • Heat the oil in the pan (or a heavy casserole dish if you are going to cook on the stovetop). Add the spice paste and cook for about five minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the coconut milk or cream.
  • If cooking on the stove: add all the remaining ingredients, including the toasted coconut. Cover tightly and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 1/2 to two hours, stirring once or twice if possible, or until the meat is very tender and the sauce thick and dark.
  • If using a slow cooker, coat the inside of the bowl or insert with non­ stick spray. Pour the sauce into the slow cooker, then add all the remaining ingredients, including the toasted coconut. Stir to combine. Cover, then turn to low and cook for eight to 10 hours.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick, then serve over steamed rice. A cucumber or green salad and roti or naan bread make ideal accompaniments.

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