How to Cook Rendang Padang

Rendang Padang is a traditional Indonesian dish that originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group in West Sumatra. It is a flavorful and aromatic beef curry that is slow-cooked with a blend of spices and coconut milk until the meat becomes tender and the sauce thickens. Rendang Padang is known for its rich and complex flavors, combining the heat from chili peppers, the sweetness of coconut milk, and the earthy notes of various spices.

To cook Rendang Padang, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 kg beef, cut into small chunks
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 red chili peppers, sliced
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • Salt to taste

To start cooking Rendang Padang, you need to first sauté the shallots, garlic, and chili peppers in a pan with some oil until fragrant. Then, add the beef and cook until it changes color. Next, add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Stir well to coat the beef with the spices.

After that, pour in the coconut milk and a small amount of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 3-4 hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce thickens. Stir occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Finally, season with salt to taste and serve the Rendang Padang hot with steamed rice.

What is Rendang Padang?

The main ingredient of Rendang Padang is usually beef, although variants with chicken or goat are also common. The meat is cooked in a thick, rich sauce made from a medley of various spices, such as galangal, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, garlic, shallots, and chili peppers. These spices give Rendang Padang its distinct and aromatic flavor.

The cooking process of Rendang Padang is what sets it apart from other dishes. The meat is simmered and stewed in coconut milk and spices for hours, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish. The slow cooking allows the flavors to fully infuse the meat, creating a mouthwatering and irresistible dish.

Rendang Padang is often served with steamed rice and is a staple dish during special occasions and celebrations in Indonesia. The dish is known for its intense and complex flavors, combining spiciness, sweetness, and earthiness. It has gained worldwide recognition and was even ranked as the world’s most delicious dish by CNN Travel in 2011.


  • Beef: Rendang Padang is typically made with beef, preferably a cut with some marbling for added tenderness and flavor. The beef is cooked slowly until it becomes tender and absorbs the rich, aromatic spices.
  • Coconut Milk: Coconut milk is a crucial component of Rendang Padang, as it provides the dish with its creamy and slightly sweet base. It is important to use thick coconut milk to give the dish its rich texture.
  • Spices: The spice blend used in Rendang Padang is what gives the dish its signature taste. Key spices include galangal, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, turmeric, and chili peppers. These spices are ground together to form a paste, which is then cooked with the beef and coconut milk.
  • Tamarind Paste: Tamarind paste is used to add a tangy flavor to the dish, balancing out the richness of the coconut milk and spices. It also helps to tenderize the meat.
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves: Kaffir lime leaves are commonly used in Indonesian cooking and add a vibrant citrusy aroma to Rendang Padang. They are typically added whole and discarded before serving.
  • Palm Sugar: Palm sugar is used to provide a subtle sweetness to Rendang Padang, balancing out the heat from the spices. It is important to use palm sugar instead of regular white sugar to achieve an authentic flavor.

These ingredients, when combined and cooked with patience and care, result in a delicious and aromatic dish that is Rendang Padang.

List of Ingredients Needed for Cooking Rendang Padang

1. Meat:

1. Meat:

To make Rendang Padang, you will need 1 kg of beef. You can use various cuts of beef, such as chuck, flank, or brisket. It is important to choose a tender cut of meat with some marbling for the best results.

2. Spices:

Spices are the heart of Rendang Padang, giving it its unique taste. You will need the following spices:

  • Shallots: 10 cloves
  • Ginger: 4 cm
  • Galangal: 4 cm
  • Garlic: 6 cloves
  • Coriander seeds: 2 tablespoons
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder: 2 tablespoons
  • Red chilies: 10, dried
  • Chili powder: 1 tablespoon

3. Coconut Milk:

3. Coconut Milk:

To create the rich and creamy sauce of Rendang Padang, you will need coconut milk. Prepare 1 liter of thick coconut milk for the recipe. If you cannot find thick coconut milk, you can use regular coconut milk and simmer it until it thickens.

4. Other Ingredients:

In addition to the main ingredients, you will also need the following for Rendang Padang:

  • Kaffir lime leaves: 5-6 leaves
  • Lemon grass: 2 stalks
  • Turmeric leaves: 3-4 leaves (optional)
  • Tamarind paste: 1 tablespoon
  • Palm sugar: 2 tablespoons
  • Salt: to taste

By gathering all these ingredients, you will be well-prepared to cook a delicious Rendang Padang. Remember to follow the recipe instructions for the best results and enjoy the mouthwatering flavors of this Indonesian dish!

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