Neil Perry's beef rendang

Neil Perry
Neil Perry's rendang of beef.
Neil Perry's rendang of beef. Photo: William Meppem

Curry favour with your guests by making them this mouthwatering beef rendang​. This delicious rendang can be made with lamb or chicken – just alter the cooking time. Using a small shoulder of lamb (about a kilo) will take a little less time, while chicken thighs will be ready in 30 minutes.


3 tbsp vegetable oil

800g topside beef, cut into 3cm pieces

600ml coconut milk

1½ tbsp tamarind paste

6 kaffir lime leaves, crushed, plus extra to serve

1½ tbsp grated palm sugar

sea salt

Rendang curry paste

15g shrimp paste

1 red onion, roughly chopped

8 garlic cloves, chopped

12 long red chillies, seeds removed and chopped

1 lemongrass stem, white part only, chopped

40g galangal, peeled and finely chopped

40g ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 kaffir lime, finely grated zest

5g fresh turmeric, grated, or 1 tsp ground turmeric


1. Preheat oven to 160C. To make the curry paste, first wrap the shrimp paste in foil and roast for about 10 minutes, until fragrant. Blend or process all the ingredients together to form a smooth paste (makes about 400 grams).

2. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wok. Add 150g curry paste and fry for three minutes – this will release a strong chilli fragrance, but it is a necessary part of the recipe and well worth it. (The remaining curry paste will keep for up to three months in a freezer.)

3. Add the beef, coconut milk, tamarind paste and kaffir lime leaves. Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently (so the coconut milk doesn't stick) for 1-1½ hours, or until the meat is tender and the curry has thickened. Add palm sugar and salt to taste. Serve with extra finely sliced kaffir lime leaves, steamed jasmine rice and Asian greens. 

For another flavour-packed Neil Perry recipe check out this steamed blue-eye trevalla with tomato curry.