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Slow Cooker Beef Rendang

Slow cooker beef rendang is a dish I cook often, particularly when I have friends coming for dinner. It’s one of those dishes that requires a small amount of effort in terms of preparing the beef rendang paste. However once assembled, the slow cooker does all the hard work.

A green bowl filled with beef rendang garnishes with sliced red chilli and chopped coriander leaf, with a portion of steamed white rice, garnished with nigella seeds and a bowl of sambal set alongside.

Indonesian beef rendang is thought to originate in West Sumatra, taking it’s name from the Indonesian word merandang or randang which means “slow”, relating to how it is cooked. However, the dish has migrated and is also popular in Malaysia and Singapore.

Spicy beef rendang is a slow cooked beef dish where the meat is stewed with spices and coconut milk. However, this is not a searingly hot dish in terms of chilli heat. This easy beef rendang recipe has a dry consistency with a thick and rich flavoured sauce.

Beef rendang is traditionally cooked on the stovetop, but I’ve made this recipe for slow cooking in a slow cooker. Cooking it this way means I don’t have to stand over the stove stirring to stop the sauce from sticking. I also provide instructions for slow cooked beef rendang in the oven.

Why you’ll love slow cooker beef rendang

  • Quick and easy to prepare as once assembled the slow cooker does all the hard work, just switch it on and get on with your day.
  • A great make ahead dish and can me made a day or two in advance, and as with all stew based dishes, it tastes even better if allowed to sit.
  • Gluten free if you use a gluten free stockpot.
  • Dairy free as the creamy element comes from coconut milk.

Beef rendang ingredients

Slow cooker beef rendang raw recipe ingredients set out in individual bowls.
  • Oil – use a light oil like sunflower or vegetable oil.
  • Dry spices – I use a combination of ground cumin, coriander and turmeric as well as a cinnamon stick.
  • Beef – use a good quality stewing joint cut into large chunks. I used thick rib trim but you could use beef shoulder, chuck or brisket too.
  • Coconut milk – I recommend using thick coconut milk, otherwise the sauce will be too watery. I use Pride coconut milk as the coconut solids can be removed from the can and added to the rendang sauce. I then hold onto the liquid part and use it if I think the sauce needs to be loosened.
  • Beef – I add a beef stockpot or stock cube to the sauce (no need for extra liquid as this is cooked in the slow cooker and there is enough with the coconut milk).
  • Tamarind paste – adds a slightly sweet and sour taste to the sauce which balances out the spices.
  • Seasoning – I season the sauce with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Palm sugar – I tend not to add any additional sugar to dishes. However, it is traditional to add palm sugar to a rendang, which balances out the spices. You are welcome to do so if you wish, add anything from a teaspoon to a tablespoon depending on taste. If you don’t have palm sugar, soft brown sugar is a great swap.

Beef rendang paste

  • Onion – I’ve opted for a red onion as it had a milder flavour, banana shallots would be a great substitute, but you could also use a regular onion.
  • Garlic – I use fresh garlic cloves, although frozen garlic can work well too.
  • Ginger – if you can find fresh galengal I recommend using that. I struggle to get that in my local stores so use fresh ginger instead.
  • Chilli – I use red finger chillies to add a bit of heat to the paste.
  • Lemongrass – for the best flavour I recommend using fresh stalks of lemongrass.

How to make slow cooker beef rendang

  • Place all paste ingredients in a food processor, along with a tablespoon of water and blitz to a fine paste.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy based pan. Add the rendang paste and saute gently over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the dry spices and continue to saute gently for a further 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the chunks of beef to the pan and brown the meat to seal in flavour. Take time to ensure all the pieces of beef are well coated in the spice mixture.
  • Now transfer everything into the slow cooker.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir well.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 6 hours.
  • Beef rendang is a thick sauce, so if the sauce looks too thin it is easy to reduce. See instructions on how to do this below.

How to reduce sauce

  • Remove the chunks of meat from the slow cooker and set aside in a bowl.
  • Pour the rendang sauce into a large non stick frying pan over medium high heat. Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes and burn off any excess liquid which will naturally reduce the sauce.
  • Once you have achieved the desired consistency, place the beef back into the sauce and heat to warm through before serving.

Cooking slow cooked beef rendang in the oven

  • Start by preheating the oven to 160C/140CFan/320F.
  • Using a large oven-proof pan or Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, follow the first 4 steps in the recipe card instructions.
  • Now add all remaining ingredients into pan and cover with a lid.
  • If cooking in the oven, use the whole can of coconut milk and not just the coconut milk solids from the top of the can.
  • Cover the pan with the lid, place in the oven and cook for 3-4 hours, depending on cut of meat you are using. For diced steak it will be closer to 3 hours, for rib trim or brisket it will be closer to 4 hours.
  • Check the rendang from time to time and stir, adding a little splash of water if it looks like its drying out too much or is starting to stick.
Two green bowls filled with beef rendang garnishes with sliced red chilli and chopped coriander leaf, with a portion of steamed white rice, garnished with nigella seeds and a bowl of sambal set alongside.

Serving suggestion

Rendang is traditional served with steamed white rice, although you could serve it with coconut rice. I also like to serve a spicy sambal alongside, that way those diners who enjoy their food on the spicy side can add a little to their dish.

Useful hints and tips

  1. I recommend using fresh garlic, ginger, chilli and lemongrass when making the rendang paste, rather than using store bought pastes. Fresh aromatics will make a big difference to the overall taste of the dish.
  2. Containing no dairy this side dish is suitable for dairy free diners.
  3. Use a gluten free stockpot/cube and you can serve rendang to coeliacs or gluten free diners.
  4. Allergy advice: gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soya free and nut free. For comprehensive and detailed allergy advice go to Allergy UK.
Two green bowls filled with beef rendang garnishes with sliced red chilli and chopped coriander leaf, with a portion of steamed white rice, garnished with nigella seeds and a bowl of sambal set alongside.

FAQs

What cut of beef is best for rendang?

You need to look for a slow cook, braising cut of beef. I’ve used thick beef rib, but beef shoulder, chuck or brisket are great options too. Look for beef that has good marbling as the fat will render and add great flavour to the the finished rendang sauce.

What kind of coconut milk is best for rendang?

Coconut milk varies in consistency depending on the type you buy. First press coconut milk tends to be thicker whilst second press milk is looser in consistency. When using a slow cooker, you need to cut back on the amount of liquid added, so I recommend using a thick coconut milk. Don’t use light coconut milk, as it won’t give you the same flavour or texture of sauce.

I use Pride coconut milk as the coconut solids can be removed from the can and added to the rendang sauce. I then hold onto the liquid part and use it if I think the sauce needs to be loosened.

Why is my beef rendang tough?

If the beef is tough, you just need to cook it a little longer to allow the meat to soften and break down until it is fork tender.

Why is my rendang watery?

A lot depends on the thickness of the coconut milk you are using. However, if your sauce is watery it is easily fixed. Once cooked, remove the beef from the sauce with a slotted spoon and set aside. Then place the redang into a saucepan over medium- high heat and reduce the sauce for 10-15 until you reach the desired consistency. Now return the beef to the pan, warm through and serve.

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Pinnable image with recipe title and a green bowl filled with beef rendang garnishes with sliced red chilli and chopped coriander leaf, with a portion of steamed white rice, garnished with nigella seeds set alongside.

Additional recipe suggestions

If you enjoyed this lightly spiced dish try our other slow cooked beef options

Looking for inspiration for feeding the family mid week, then take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Family Dinners. Full of useful hints, tips and recipes.

A green bowl filled with beef rendang garnishes with sliced red chilli and chopped coriander leaf, with a portion of steamed white rice, garnished with nigella seeds and a bowl of sambal set alongside.

Beef Rendang

Slow cooker beef rendang is a packed full of flavour but is surprisingly easy to prepare and cook in the slow cooker. Instructions for cooking in the oven are also attached in the notes below the recipe.
5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 575kcal

Equipment

  • Dutch oven or large saucepan
  • Slow cooker
  • Chopping/cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp light oil (eg groundnut, sunflower, vegetable)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 8 cm cinnamon stick (3-inch)
  • 500 g thick beef rib trim (or other suitable slow cook joint, cut into large chunks)
  • 400 ml can coconut milk (thick creamy part from top of can only)
  • 1 Knorr beef stock pot
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tap freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp palm sugar (optional – substitute with soft brown sugar if no palm sugar)

Beef rendang paste ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2.5 cm root ginger (1-inch)
  • 3 red chilli (de-seeded)
  • 1.5 stalks lemongrass

Instructions

  • Place all paste ingredients in a food processor, along with a tablespoon of water and blitz to a fine paste.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy based pan. Add the rendang paste and saute gently over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the dry spices and continue to saute gently for a further 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the chunks of beef to the pan and brown the meat to seal in flavour. Take time to ensure all the pieces of beef are well coated in the spice mixture.
  • Now transfer everything into the slow cooker.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir well.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 6 hours.
  • Beef rendang is a thick sauce, so if the sauce looks too thin it is easy to reduce.
  • Remove the chunks of meat from the slow cooker and set aside in a bowl.
  • Pour the rendang sauce into a large non stick frying pan over medium high heat. Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes and burn off any excess liquid which will naturally reduce the sauce.
  • Once you have achieved the desired consistency, place the beef back into the sauce and heat to warm through before serving.

Notes

Coconut milk varies in consistency depending on the type you buy. First press coconut milk tends to be thicker whilst second press milk is looser in consistency. As using a slow cooker, you need to cut back on the amount of liquid added, so I recommend using a thick coconut milk. I don’t recommend using light coconut milk, as it won’t give you the same flavour or texture of sauce.
I use Pride coconut milk as the coconut solids can be removed from the can and added to the rendang sauce. I then hold onto the liquid part and use it if I think the sauce needs to be loosened.
How to slow cook beef rendang in the oven:
  • Start by preheating the oven to 160C/140CFan/320F.
  • Using a large oven-proof pan or Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, follow the first 4 steps in the recipe card instructions.
  • Now add all remaining ingredients into pan and cover with a lid.
  • If cooking in the oven, use the whole can of coconut milk and not just the coconut milk solids from the top of the can.
  • Cover the pan with the lid, place in the oven and cook for 3-4 hours, depending on cut of meat you are using. For diced steak it will be closer to 3 hours, for rib trim or brisket it will be closer to 4 hours.
  • Check the rendang from time to time and stir, adding a little splash of water if it looks like its drying out too much or is starting to stick.
Nutrition Facts
Beef Rendang
Amount Per Serving
Calories 575 Calories from Fat 360
% Daily Value*
Fat 40g62%
Saturated Fat 26g163%
Trans Fat 0.4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 101mg34%
Sodium 941mg41%
Potassium 989mg28%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 40g80%
Vitamin A 354IU7%
Vitamin C 55mg67%
Calcium 95mg10%
Iron 8mg44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •

Course : Main Course
Cuisine : Indonesian, Malaysian
Keyword : beef rendang, slow cooked beef rendang, spicy beef rendang
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Recipe Rating




Chloe

Friday 16th of February 2024

The amount of flavour was wild! I really enjoyed this!

Lesley

Friday 16th of February 2024

Thank you Chloe, there's real depth of flavour in this dish.

Cat

Tuesday 13th of February 2024

Oh my goodness this was so delicious! Packed with amazing flavours, so so good!

Lesley

Thursday 15th of February 2024

Thank you Cat, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Janice

Monday 12th of February 2024

This is soooo good! The fresh paste really brings out the flavours and I'll definitely be making it again.

Lesley

Monday 12th of February 2024

Thank you Janice, I do think using a fresh paste makes all the difference.

Marie

Tuesday 11th of June 2019

Hadn’t cooked this for a while but needed something I could prep and then just chuck in the oven later. It was delicious and back on the regular menu as now even the kids love it. So easy and great for the slow cooker.

Lesley

Wednesday 12th of June 2019

Thank you Marie, I couldn’t agree more. It looks like a long list of spices but it’s really a very easy cook, more assembly than anything else. Lesley x