Norman Musa's beef rendang

There are many versions of rendang in Malaysia but Norman makes his a lot simpler – especially with his ‘secret’ method of doing kerisik (roasted coconut) which gives rendang its unique taste sensation
  • 6 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 6 tablespoons blended lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoons blended galangal
  • 1 tablespoon blended onion
  • 1 tablespoon blended garlic
  • 1 tablespoon blended ginger
  • 4 tablespoons dried chilli paste
  • 4 tablespoons tamarind juice
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon dark coconut sugar block, broken into small pieces
  • 100ml water (1st part)
  • 500g beef, topside, cut into thin slices
  • 1 lemongrass (use bottom half and bruised)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 100ml water (2nd part)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tablespoons kerisik (see method)


To make the kerisik:

Take a 200g block of coconut (widely available in supermarkets) and microwave for 3 minutes.

Stir immediately and microwave for a further 1 minute until the colour is darker. Set aside. (This makes around 8 tbs).

Heat up the cooking oil in a saucepan. Add the blended lemongrass and galangal. Cook for 5 minutes until the aroma rises. Next add the blended onion, garlic and ginger.

Cook for a further 5 minutes until it turns brown. Add the blended chilli paste, tamarind juice, white sugar, salt and dark coconut sugar. Cook until the oil separates.

Next add the fresh beef, bruised lemongrass and 1st part water and simmer on a low heat until dry. Once dried, add the coconut milk and 2nd part water and simmer again on a low heat until dry and the oil separates. The simmering in total takes about an hour. This will make the beef tender and give it plenty of time to absorb the rich flavours of the other ingredients.

Finally add the kaffir lime leaves and kerisik (roasted coconut) and cook for a further 5 minutes until the kerisik has blended in well.

Serve with rice.