Indonesian in origin, rending is a dish of tender beef chunks, slow-cooked in an aromatic coconut sauce for hours until fragrant and the sauce thickens to a dry paste. Serve with fluffy white rice and lime wedges to complete the dish.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (69 votes)


  • 1 kg beef chuck steak, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 3 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, halved
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 6 makrut lime leaves
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 45 g (½ cup) desiccated coconut, toasted
  • steamed rice and lime wedges, to serve


Rempah (spice paste)

  • 12 dried red chillies, seeds removed, chopped
  • 5 Asian red eschalots, peeled, chopped
  • 3 cm piece galangal, peeled
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 cm piece ginger, peeled

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Soaking time 20 minutes
Chilling time 2 hours

To make rempah, place chillies in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for 20 minutes or until softened and rehydrated. Drain. Place chillies and remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until fine.

Place beef in a large bowl, add rempah and mix to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Heat oil in a large wok with a lid over medium heat, then add beef, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and lemongrass and cook for 2 minutes or until meat is browned. Add coconut milk, 250 ml (1 cup) water, tamarind, makrut lime leaves and sugar and stir to combine. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes or until reduced by one-third.

Reduce heat to low, add coconut, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1½ hours or until beef is very tender, liquid has evaporated and sauce is dry. Season with 1½ teaspoons of salt, adding more sugar to taste, if needed. Serve with rice and lime wedges.



Photography Chris Chen. Food preparation Kirsten Jenkins. Styling Vivien Walsh.


As seen in Feast magazine, September 2014, Issue 35.