Indonesian Beef Rendang

Serve with a fragrant rice and cucumber salad seasoned simply with salt, pepper, lime juice and a pinch of sugar.

This is a traditional island dish with plenty of flavor and mild heat that is known across the globe. It soothes the soul.

Serves 8-10 people

Paste mixture
5 fresh chili peppers, seeded and diced

5 shallots, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced 

3 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika 

2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes

Seasonings to add to pan
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger root, minced 

3 stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped

4 Thai lime leaves, fresh or frozen

2 teaspoons ground turmeric or 1-inch finely chopped fresh turmeric

3 1/2 14-ounce cans of unsweetened coconut milk


Place the chili peppers, chopped shallots, minced garlic, sea salt, ground red pepper and smoked paprika in a blender and pulse the ingredients until a paste is formed.

Mix the paste with the beef cubes and add to a skillet (cast iron preferred) set over low/medium heat. Then add the other seasonings: ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and turmeric. Cook the beef, while occasionally stirring, until all the meat juices are evaporated — this process takes about 15-20 minutes. 

Slowly pour the canned coconut milk into the skillet, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes and let the coconut milk continue to simmer until thickened — this process takes about 30 minutes. Cover and reduce the heat to low, barely simmering, until the sauce turns brown and the oil has separated from the coconut milk. This may take about 2 1/2 hours. Stir frequently as the sauce thickens and clings to the beef. Remove lemongrass stalks. Serve over jasmine rice, if desired.

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