By Sam | 25 March, 2021


Often described as one of the most delicious dishes the world over, this Malaysian dry curry is bursting with rich, intense flavour.

Typically, Beef Rendang is something of a labour of love – a slow cooking stew left to blip-away food several hours until the meat is tender and the sauce is almost entirely reduced. In our version, we chose to make meatballs rather than the typical chunks of beef – it requires a little more initial prep work, but it greatly reduces the cooking time and gives the opportunity to flavour the meatballs with the heady curry paste. 

Fragrant and intense with ginger, garlic, dried chillies, cardamom and star anise – this speedy Beef Rendang will become a firm favourite.

  • Author: Sam



10g Dried Mild Chillies, I used guajillo 

1 Banana Shallot, roughly chopped

5 Garlic Cloves,

A Large Thumb of Ginger, roughly chopped

1 Lemongrass Stalk, outer casing removed and roughly chopped

1 Star Anise,

8 Cloves,

56 Cardamom Pods,

1 ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon,

56 Macadamia Nuts, or candlenuts if you can find them 

Generous Pinch of Salt and Pepper 


500g Minced Beef,

3 tbsp Rendang Paste,

30g Desiccated Coconut,

60ml Coconut Milk,

1 Egg, whisked

Generous Pinch of Salt & Pepper


400ml Coconut Milk, 

1 tbsp Tamarind Paste, 

Generous Pinch of Salt and Pepper


Coconut Oil


Toasted Desiccated Coconut, 

Coriander, a few leaves

Lime Leaves, finely sliced


Coconut Rice



TIP – You can absolutely use store-bought paste for this recipe. However, there is something undeniably satisfying about a homemade curry paste and there’s no question that the fresher your paste, the better the quality of the beef rendang. We’ve used a traditional recipe for the paste and the results give a really exceptional flavour. 

  1. Add the star anise, cloves and cardamom seeds into a pestle and mortar and grind into a powder or at least heavily broken down before blending.
  2. Using a blender or immersion blender, blitz all of the ingredients together until a smooth, thick paste is achieved. You should not need to add any water or liquid as the onions should release enough moisture to aid in blending.

TIP – You can use a food processor or even a pestle and mortar to make the paste but I have found an immersion blender and cup provided with it the best method to get a really smooth paste.


  1. Place a pan over a medium heat with a spoonful of coconut oil and add 3 tbsp of the rendang curry paste. Fry off the curry paste until darkened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and leave to cool for 5 minutes. 

TIP – Try transferring the cooked paste to a cold plate and spread out as much as possible. This will help to cool down more quickly. 

  1. Add the coconut milk, egg and desiccated coconut into a bowl and mix together. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the beef mince and season with salt and pepper. Try and loosen the mince so that the seasoning is evenly spread over the meat. 
  3. Add the cooled curry paste and coconut-egg-mixture to the bowl and thoroughly mix together until evenly combined.

TIP – At this point, you should heat a small pan and fry off a little of the mixture and then taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

  1. Using lightly oiled hands, measure out 30g pieces of the mixture and shape into a round meatball. Repeat the process until all the mixture is used up. 

TIP – Now, if you have time, transfer the meatballs to the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.


  1. Place a large pan over a medium heat with a spoonful of coconut oil. Add the meatballs and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are just starting to colour before turning over and cooking for a further 3 minutes and then turning over again, repeating the process until the meatballs have a decent colour all over. Transfer the meatballs to a plate.

TIP – If necessary you may need to do this in batches and then finish all the meatballs at the same time.

  1. Add another spoonful of coconut oil to the pan and add in the rendang paste. Fry off the curry paste until darkened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. 
  2. Add the coconut milk and tamarind paste into the pan and mix together with the cooked paste. Turn the heat up to a rolling simmer and allow to reduce for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the meatballs back into the pan and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the meatballs are entirely cooked through and the sauce is thick and just coats the meatballs.
  4. Top the Beef Rendang Meatballs with toasted desiccated coconut, lime leaves and coriander. Serve immediately with coconut rice.  


  • Kenneth
    In your recipe, it listed the Tamarind Paste, but I don’t see it being used in the instruction, it asked to mix coconut milk with Rendang paste, is it Rendang paste or tamarind paste? Or does Rendang paste is only mixed into the meatball?
    • Hi Kenneth, looks like I missed that part in the recipe! Good catch! You add the tamarind in along with the coconut milk - I have updated the recipe to reflect this. Happy cooking.

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