Beef Rendang

Beef rendang cooked first in the pressure cooker then cooked down till all gravy is thickened and you’re left with tender, rich, caramezlied beef enjoyed with lemang or nasi lemak.

I have a stovetop pressure cooker which serves its purpose on and off. I dig it out every year without fail to make rendang. Rendang is something we heartily enjoy either as an accompaniment to nasi lemak or with lemang. I usually get a rendang craving just before Hari Raya is celebrated.

This recipe has served me well. Be warned tho, there is a fair amount of prep involved. Of course you can use a ready made paste to achieve desired results, but why when you can toil laboriously in the kitchen and feel humongously satisfied once said rendang is ready. Let’s go.

So roughly here is the process broken down:

Roughly chop and throw ingredients in blender to make a fine spice paste.

Prepare the all important kerisik (toasted coconut) which gives the rendang the distint rendang hit. You could also use store bought kerisik and save time!

Pressure cook beef with spice paste and other ingredients till half tender.

Release pressure. Continue cooking down to tenderise beef further and cook gravy down.

So below are most of the ingredients needed to make the spice paste and then some. Most ingredients would be familiar except for say ‘asam keping’ or dried tamarind (the brownish fella) which can be easily obtained from the spice section. You may freeze the balance (in the packet) and use later.

When blending the paste, add some water to the blender but not too much just to get the blades running. Be sure the paste is blended well. It should look like this.

Now onto the kerisik. I LOVE toasted coconut. There is something about the smell and the flavour it imparts into the rendang dish. In fact when I make this again, I will definitely increase the amount of kerisik called for. 

The grated coconut, is dry fried till it turns brown and is nice and toasty. Be vigilant here and don’t be reading your Whatsapps as you need to keep it from burning. From here, I used my pestel and mortar to pound it till it becomes fine. 

Edit: I’ve also used store bought kerisik. Open the pack and empty contents into a bowl, give a good mix then add into rendang.

Now, let’s talk about my Pressure Cooker. It is not an Instant Pot. It’s a stovetop PC where tough cuts of meat can be tenderized in half cooking time. It has an indicator rod which pops up to indicate pressure and that’s when you start your cooking time. Once done, release the pressure via a knob on the cover and you’re free to open the lid. My PC has served me well in cooking mutton too.

Now onto the RIGHT cut of beef. Thankfully I had my sister to turn too. You want to use Chuck Tender. You can ask for it from the butcher at any grocer you go to. I got mine from Jaya Grocer and it was packed really well. This is the same cut used for making Beef Stew. So let’s begin.

Add some oil into the PC and then add in the spice paste. Fry for a bit (as it’s all made up of raw ingredients) so fry off for about 10mins.

Next add in the meat and mix with the paste. From here, add in the coconut milk too.

Add in the asam keping, turmeric & kaffir lime leaf shreds and place lid on.

From here, I wait for the indicator rod to pop up. This indicates there is pressure built up in the cooker. I pressure cook for 15 mins, switch off flame then release pressure and open the lid.

There will be quite a bit of liquid (see pic below) when you open the lid after 15 mins. DO NOT PANIC. It’s only half way thru and once your restart the flame and continue cooking for 30 mins the gravy will go down (trust me).

Once you open the lid, add in the seasoning and kerisik too. After 30 mins the gravy would have cooked down and the beef tender. Let it rest.

Did you try this recipe?

Please do let me know if you've tried it, by leaving a comment or tagging me on IG @thesuddencook.

Beef Rendang

Pressure cooked till the beefy chunks of meat are wrapped in a rich caramelized rendang flavour. Goes best with lemang or nasi lemak!


To be roughly chopped then blended to form a smooth paste:

  • 20 shallots
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • 4 fresh red chillies
  • 20 dried chillies Soak in some hot water to soften
  • 2 lemongrass Only use white portion at the end
  • 20 g ginger a medium sized knob
  • 5 candlenuts
  • 2 tbsp meat curry powder

Cut of beef

  • 1 kg beef chuck tender Cut into thick chunks

Kerisik (Toasted Coconut)

  • 1/2 cup grated coconut Toasted over a saucepan (no oil added) - dry fry till turns brown then pounded in a pestel and mortar to get kerisik


  • 250 ml coconut milk Mine is from a carton.
  • 1/2 turmeric leaf sliced finely
  • 4 lime leaves sliced finely
  • 3 asam keping / dried tamarind pieces can be found easily in any Grocer where all spices are kept


  • 3 1/2 tbsp palm sugar/ brown sugar or white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt


  • Heat up 5 tbsp oil in pressure cooker and add in blended spice paste. You want to fry this for 5-10 mins till fragrant. Add in beef and mix. Pour in coconut milk and mix.
  • Add in dried tamarind, kaffir lime leaves and turmeric leave shreds.
  • Cover pressure cooker and cook over medium heat until indicator rod comes up. Once the indicator is up, turn down heat slightly - and pressure cook for 15 mins. After 15 mins, switch off flame and release pressure. Once pressure is released, open lid. You will see quite a bit of liquid here, DON"T panic. It will be cooked down.
  • Switch on flame again, put in seasoning and kerisik and cook for further 30 mins or till gravy is cooked down and to your liking. Stirring on and off esp towards the end.
  • Towards the end, you will see the rendang has been cooked down, gravy much less and beef is tender. Taste. If you think it's too spicy add just 1/4 tsp sugar. Let the rendang rest.


Top tips:
  • Get the right cut of beef. You need to ask for Chuck Tender. They have it in Jaya or Village Grocer.
  • I do not de-seed all the chillies, you may want too if you feel it might be too spicy later on.
  • Pour some water but not too much into blender when blending ingredients. There is alot of ingredients to blend so it might be better to not add all into the blender at one go. I blend some first, then top up remainder into blender and blend.
  • I used coconut milk from the carton. If the carton is only 200ml, then use all of it and top up with 50ml water. That is actually what I do.
  • Leftover grated coconut can be kept in freezer, as well as candlenuts and asam keping. Candlenuts can be subbed with macademia nuts. I've tried this.
  • You can keep extra lime leaves or turmeric leaf shred for garnish.
  • Be sure to cut beef into thick chunks, they will shrink slightly as they cook in pressure cooker.
  • Quite a bit of prep work - but oh so worth it!
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2 years ago

I love beef, but have never tried beef rendang…it looks so flavourful and tasty.

2 years ago

Making the paste from scratch, this is truly homemade beef rendang, made with love 🙂