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Chef John's Beef Rendang

Don’t think of this amazing Indonesian beef curry as not having a sauce, think of it as not needing a sauce. By the way, it has a sauce – you just can’t see it. As we reduce it, the water evaporates, leaving behind the fat and flavor that make this dish so unique and deliciously addictive. Originally this recipe was a way to preserve meat in hot and humid Indonesia, which is why it was cooked until dry. The lack of moisture, along with all these naturally antimicrobial ingredients, meant this dish would keep for weeks without spoiling. Prepping it is dead simple. Into the food processor go all your curry paste ingredients, including ginger, galangal, chilies, and dry spices. Let it sizzle in the pan before adding chunks of beef chuck, coconut milk, tamarind paste, water, and lemongrass. You'll then leave it to reduce for a few hours until 1) the beef is tender and 2) the sauce is reduced. The tricky part is knowing when to add more water or reduce the heat so that both conditions are met at the same time. Check out the recipe and ingredient substitutions for Chef John's Beef Rendang.

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