Beautifully Bonkers Beef Rendang Curry


Doesn’t look the prettiest but yummy all the same

Many years ago I went to Thailand and we went out on a scuba-diving boat trip, I was a wimp and stuck to snorkeling but the experience itself was great.  During the course of the trip they served up a stew/curry and I’ve been searching for the recipe ever since.  To my delight I finally thought I’d found it when I saw James Martin make this dish.  Full of anticipation we cooked this with tender loving care and guess what.. it was nothing like it but lovely anyway lol. To make it slightly lighter I used low fat coconut milk and sweetener and it was still delicious.  Simple to do but it is a slow cook dish so needs a bit of tender loving care.  Worth the wait.


4 shallots or small onions, peeled and diced
1 large chunk of ginger 4-5 cm, peeled and grated
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, chopped (fresh, dried or frozen)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
3-4 large chillies, diced (seeds in or out depending on how brave you are -I used 3 and left seeds in and it wasn’t hot)
1 kg stewing steak, diced
6 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
4 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
400ml low fat coconut milk
200ml beef stock
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar or sweetener
2 tbsp tamarind paste
Salt and pepper

To serve:

2 limes, juice and zest
Naan bread


  1. Place the shallots, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, chillies into a food processor with 50ml water. Blitz to a paste and pour over the beef. Marinate for 2 hours min or I did it overnight.


  1. Heat a large pan over a medium heat until it is hot then add the cardamom pods, star anise, cinnamon, cumin and coriander. Cook for one minute then add the marinated beef, coconut milk, beef stock, fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind. Season and stir together, then put in the oven on 140 ° for approx. 3.5 hours or simmer gently for 2 hours on hob.


  1. To serve: squeeze over the lime juice, sprinkle over lime zest and serve with naan bread.



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