Rendang Padang – Indonesian Beef Stew

Rendang Padang

Rendang must be a favorite dish for many. Several times I was asked through my blog: “When Pisang Susu will you make rendang, when please? You are right, rendang is a classic Indonesian dish. We all love it. 😉 It’s not difficult but you have to plan ahead. I takes 4 hours in total to make this beef stew.

In Beb Vuyk’s book she has a Rendang Padang (#178). A Rendang from the city Padang on West Sumatra, enak!

This recipe is with beef and liver. I like! I choose for chicken livers, because they are easy to get and I love the tender flavor.

Altogether, it takes five hours to make rendang. This amount is good for four people.

Rendang Padang #178 from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page


  • 1/2 kg of beef
  • 1/2 kg of liver or heart
  • 1 block santen (coconut cream)


  • 5 tablespoons of chopped onions
  • 5 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 10 red chili peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of galangal
  • 4 roasted kemiries
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 stalk of  sereh
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 2 djeruk purut leaves
  • salt
  1. Cut the chilies, remove seeds and cut into pieces.
  2. This dish is very spicy. But anyone who wants it less spicy should not reduce the amount of chilies, but allow them to well up in warm water.
  3. Rub onions, garlic, chilies, turmeric, galangal, the roasted kemiries, ginger powder and salt together into a fine paste.
  4. Dissolve santen in 1 liter of boiling water, add the spice mixture to it, the lemon grass and the different leaves.
  5. Cook in this broth the roughly diced meat and liver or heart. The sauce should thicken by evaporation to a smooth paste. Therefore, use a heavy saucepan and stir the mass regularly, when it starts to become thick. 

This dish can be preserved for several of days.


Rendang Ingredients

My 10 chilies are not that spicy as they look. I deseed them before I add them to my rendang.

I use candle nut paste (I buy in a jar) instead of roasted candlenuts. When you use ‘fresh’ candle nuts always roast them, otherwise they are slightly toxic.

Rendang chilie pepers

I’m using seven peppers (not all 10). I chop them up before I add them to my cobek (mortar).

Rendang - beef and chicken livers

I buy a pound of organic beef for this rendang. High-quality meat is very important. Beb writes ‘lean beef’ in her recipe, but I like some fat in my meat.

I also opt for a pound of chicken livers and not beef liver. I like chicken livers a lot. I cut the liver in approximately the same size as the beef cubes.

Rendang cobek -bumbu

I rub everything equally fine in the cobek or mortar. It is a lot of onions, so I prepare two batches.

Rendang - Santen - Broth

Meanwhile, the pan is heating up with a liter of water and the block of santen (coconut cream).

Rendang ingredients - Jeruk Purut

Finally I can use for the first time my own jeruk purut plant. My sister got me this beautiful plant and it has grown a lot. Now its first leaves can be cut: two for my rendang please ;-).

Rendang in coconut broth

The coconut has melted completely. So all the ingredients can go in. The content of my cobek, the lemongrass and the different leaves.

I add two lemongrass stalks because I love that taste soo much. If you like you can add more jeruk purut leaves too. It will all add to the sourness of the dish. Lovely.

Rendang with lit on the pan

Simmer it now for 3 hours. For the first 2,5 hours, I leave the lit on like this. During the last 30 minutes, I take the lit off to reduce the sauce even further.

Rendang after 2 hours of simmering

This is the result after 2 hours. So you have to be patient. Just let it simmer on low heat, stay close and stir once in a while and that’s all. Your home will be filled with so many lovely smells. The best start for a great dinner.

The liver will not be dry at all. Also not after 3 hours of simmering. When your stew is done you can keep it for a few days (probably a week) in the fridge. You can also freeze it easily and keep it even longer. A great dish for unexpected guests.

Rendang Padang - finished dishLook at it. So lovely and tender. Rendang you rock. Selamat Makan!

Beb Vuyk, best known for her Groot Indonesisch Kookboek (Great Indonesian Cook Book), was much more than a great cook. She belongs to the most important Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) writers and journalists of her time. Check this out.

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Brian Johnstone says:

    Trema Kasih for this Nonya Pauline.
    Our cook Atim, in Bandung, made this for me regularly at my request and used to stand by the door saying “Plenty spicy mister Brian?”
    I loved visits to Sumatera, where I indulged in the many-splendored “buffet” of spicy foods, paying only for what was consumed. Interestingly, she and our driver and Indonesian friends were fascinated by some Haggis brought from Scotland by a friend when he went on R.&R., for a Burn’s supper I hosted on his birthday. They really enjoyed it too.
    Main question “Is this a big sausage mister Brian?”

  2. David Seegal says:

    Hallo again, Pauline. I’m making beef rendang today and have some Qs: what cut of beef did you use? I chose brisket bc it is somewhat fatty (which I like) and should soften nicely in the cooking and become stringy when done, which I also like.
    2nd Q: why do you add the paste ingredients directly into the santen? I fry my paste first, to create a deeper flavor, then I add my kokos melk. Do you have advice about this part of the process?
    Thank you and hope you may respond.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *