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Beef Rendang

This Indonesian beef classic is wonderfully rich and fragrant. Top it with a crunchy hit of peanuts.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8

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  • 4 large shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 plump lemongrass stalks—bottom 8 inches only, outer layer removed, stalk cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • Salt
  • 3 pounds boneless beef short rib, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • Steamed rice and lime wedges, for serving


  1. In a food processor, combine the shallots, lemongrass, jalapeños and ginger and puree until smooth. Add the crushed red pepper, nutmeg and cloves and pulse to combine. Scrape the paste into a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven. Add the coconut milk, cinnamon stick, lime leaves and 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar and season lightly with salt.
  2. Add the beef to the casserole and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid is nearly evaporated and the meat is tender and deep mahogany, about 2 hours. As the mixture cooks, scrape up any bits that are stuck to the sides and bottom. The fat will separate out when the liquid is nearly evaporated and the meat is tender. Spoon off as much fat as possible and keep warm.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat the canola oil. Add the peanuts and cook over moderate heat just until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and cook, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Pour the peanuts onto a plate to cool, then break them apart. Transfer the rendang to bowls and garnish with the peanuts. Serve with steamed rice and lime wedges.

Make Ahead

The beef rendang can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The peanuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Suggested Pairing

Juicy, slightly herbal California Cabernet Sauvignon.

Contributed By Photo © Andrew Purcell Published April 2012

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