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Beef Rendang from The Chameleon in Temple BarHarry Clarke and Brian Weir

Beef rendang

A flavourful slow-cooked dish served with more gravy to suit Irish tastes.



  • 5 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1kg boneless beef short ribs, cubed, your local butcher can help
  • 1 lemongrass, cut into 10cm length and pounded
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp, soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced
  • 6 tablespoons kerisik/toasted coconut
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar, or to taste
  • Salt to taste

For the spice paste

  • 5 shallots
  • 2.5cm galangal
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2.5cm ginger
  • 10-12 dried chillies, soaked in warm water and de-seeded


  1. Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy based pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry them until aromatic.
  3. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass. Stir for one minute.
  4. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on a medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked.
  5. Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.
  6. Lower the heat, cover the lid, and simmer for 2 – 2½ hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has almost all dried up – it’s quite a dry curry.
  7. Add salt to taste. If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste. This will taste even better on the second day.
  8. Divide between bowls to serve.

Recipe by Kevin O'Toole


This is a slow cook, so you need the beef short rib or else rumptail or topside of beef. Those cheaper cuts that work well with slow cooking. To prepare the kerisik or toasted coconut, just add desiccated coconut to a dry wok and stir continuously until golden brown I never use the green part of the lemongrass stalk as it’s too woody.