Rich and fragrant, delicious and warming.

Southeast Asia’s beef rendang is a dish with a long history that is as layered and diverse as this curry-like, dry stew.

“Rendang” means ‘slowly’ and so cooking one requires patience and persistence. We developed this version of rendang based on ingredients readily available in food stores in Daylesford so you can make it here anytime. We used beef short rib but you can also ask for a kilo of chuck steak or oyster blade. It is a dish delicious served with fresh, steamed rice and perhaps an ice-cold Tiger beer.

Beef Short Rib Rendang

Serves: 6


Rendang paste

  • 4 large chillies
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, bruised, finely chopped
  • 6cm piece galangal, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 6cm piece ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 6 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt

Short Ribs

  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 pieces of beef short ribs, about 1.5kg
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 6 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
  • 60g palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • red chilli slices to serve
  • coriander leaves to serve
  • steamed rice to serve


Make the paste by placing all the ingredients for the paste into a food processor and blitz for 5 minutes or until it forms a smooth paste. You may need to add a little water to help the process. Set aside.

To a large, heavy bottomed pot, toast the coconut over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently with a spatula or until golden. Place in a bowl and set aside. Add the oil, turn the heat to high and fry the short ribs in small batches for several minutes each side or until golden brown. Remove and set aside. Place the star anise and cardamom into the pot and fry for a minute or so. Pour in the rendang paste and fry for several minutes, stirring. Return the beef and coconut to the pot, and add the coconut milk, palm sugar, fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves. Stir. When the pot is bubbling, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 4 hours or until the meat is cooked and about to fall off the bone. Serve in a bowl and decorate with chilli and coriander and a bowl of steaming rice.

Recipe by: Richard Cornish.

About the author

Cornish Richard
Richard Cornish

Richard Cornish is an award winning food writer whose love of the land lead him to explore the issues around food, where it comes from, how it gets to us and why some foods taste better than others. He writes for The Age, SMH, DMT Life and has written eight cook books including co-writing the Movida series with Frank Camorra.