Malaysian Beef Rendang

One of my absolute favourite curries is a good rendang. And my idea of the perfect rendang is one that is flavour packed, melt in your mouth, tender beef pieces in a rich thick gravy.
Malaysian Beef Rendang
Years ago, I used to buy ready mixed rendang curry pastes as shortcuts, but found that I was still adding ingredients and spices to the paste mixes to achieve my preferred rendang. So I started to mix my own spices and herbs from scratch to achieve my idea of a good rendang. Traditionally, it takes me a few hours to mess around with the blending, chopping, cutting, stirring to cook this dish. Not to mention the oil splatter around the stove that comes with cooking any type of curry.
I was excited to see how my KitchenAid Cook Processor (CP) would handle cooking curries. One of the major selling point of a thermal cooker for me was the auto stirring feature for a dish like rendang that requires prolong cooking and stirring. After a few tries to get the method/settings correct in the CP, here is my adapted rendang recipe cooked in the CP.
Rendang just finished cooking in CP pot
At first glance, it is a long and daunting recipe but have no fear, it is not as hard as it seems. There is quite a list of ingredients, but they all add to the taste, and that is how good traditional recipes are. I have attempted to group ingredients for each step to make it easier. And I have included some useful hints and notes that would hopefully answer any questions you may have on ingredients, methodology, and CP terminology so that owners of other thermal cookers can adjust this recipe to cook in their respective machines.
Malaysian Beef Rendang
Ingredients A
10 to 15 large dried red chillies (using scissors, cut in half and shake seeds out to deseed)
**(To soften chillies, put chillies into CP main bowl with 500mls water, close lid, mc off and launch program Steam P1, increase time to 15 minutes. Leave chillies to cool in the water while you prepare the other ingredients. Discard water when ready to proceed using chillies in the recipe.)
3 large onions (peeled and quartered)
5 cloves garlic (peeled)
2 sticks lemon grass (thinly slice the white part only) (if using frozen minced, 2 tblsps)
3 inch knob of fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)
2 inch knob of galangal (peeled and sliced) (if using frozen minced, 1 tblsp)
Ingredients B 
2 tbsps Baba’s brand meat curry powder
3 tbsps coriander powder
2 tbsps fennel powder
2 tbsps cumin powder
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder (optional – used to add extra spiciness)
½ cup neutral oil
1 cinnamon stick (approximately 10cms)
4 whole cardamom pods
2 cloves
4 kaffir lime leaves (roughly torn to release fragrance)
Ingredients C 
1.5 kgs gravy/chuck beef (trim off excess fat, dice into roughly 1cm to 2 cms thick slices/cubes)
1 cup coconut cream
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate/paste
2 tsps Himalayan salt (or to your taste)
1 tbsp thick dark soy sauce (also known as ‘cooking caramel’) (optional) (see notes)
Ingredient D
½ cup ‘kerisik’ (coconut paste)
  • Kerisik can be prepared ahead and frozen for convenience.
  • To dry roast desiccated coconut in CP. Insert StirAssist blade. Add ½ to 1 cup dessicated coconut to CP. Select Fry P1, increase time to 20 minutes, press start to activate programme (measuring cup off). You need to achieve a dark golden brown so if it needs more cooking time to achieve that, just relaunch Fry P1 until a dark golden brown is achieved.
  • Switch to MultiBlade, pulse or use Speed 10 to grind roasted coconut till it resembles almond meal. It is ok too if it is ground to a gritty paste. Remove and set aside.
  • Alternatively, you can do this dry roasting using a cookie tray in the oven 180C, stirring at intervals just like you would roasting nuts. Or use a pan on the stove using medium heat and stirring constantly. Then grind in the CP or a blender.
  • **Kerisik shortcut hack  =  A ‘kerisik’ hack I recently learnt is to microwave a block of creamed coconut – very quick and easy. Put 1 block of creamed coconut in a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 3 minutes. Result will be a dark brown thick coconut paste. If making kerisik this way, use about 3 to 4 tablespoons for this rendang recipe and freeze any remaining paste for future use.

  1. Insert MultiBlade in CP main bowl. Put Ingredients A into CP bowl, and pulse to grind to a fine paste.
  2. Change to StirAssist blade. Add Ingredients B into CP bowl. Select Fry P1, increase time to 20 minutes, and speed to 2, press start to activate programme (measuring cup off).
  3. Add Ingredients C. Select Stew P6, reduce speed to INT, press start to activate Step 1 of programme (measuring cup off).
  4. At the end of Step 1, add Ingredient D, and more salt to taste if needed. Press start to continue Step 2 of programme.
  5. At end of cooking time, taste meat to see if it is tender enough. If not, use Stew P1 with time of 10 minutes, speed 1 or until desired meat texture is reached.
  6. Cancel ‘keep warm’ step once meat is sufficiently tender. Serve with rice.
    **When gravy is quite thick, and therefore if you think no additional evaporation is required, insert measuring cup in the cover chute and continue the cooking process.

Useful Notes/Tips:
  • Rendang is at its best eaten the next day to allow flavours to infuse into meat. Refrigerate rendang in a covered container. To serve, just warm up in microwave or steam till thoroughly heated.
  • I like to make double or triple amount of kerisik and freeze in portions for use later to save time making it for the next batch of rendang.
  • Sometimes, the meat I buy seem to release a lot of liquid. I’ve found that if I slice/dice and leave it in a covered bowl in the fridge overnight, some of the liquid would be released and I can dispose of that excess liquid before I cook it. Otherwise, it may take a longer time to get a thick gravy or dry’ish rendang.
  • I use the ‘large’ dried chillies that are not as spicy as the smaller chillies. If you are using the small dried chillies, please adjust according to your preferred ‘spicy’ meter.
  • For the result in the picture here, I used about ¾ cup of kerisik as I like the gravy thick and the kerisik gives a nice ‘bulk’ to the rendang.
  • Also the duration I cooked this dish was approximately 1.5 hours (from when I added the meat). I used gravy beef here sliced about 2cms thick. Rendang is perfectly cooked when you can see oil starting to separate from the gravy.
  • When dishing out to serve, just remove cardamom pods, cloves, and cinnamon stick as you see them. If freezing for future use, I highly recommend that you remove all the cardamon pods, cloves and cinnamon stick as they continue to impart flavour and might be overly strong if left in sauce too long.
  • Thick dark soya sauce ‘cooking caramel’ is used to give this dish a darker/richer colour. It is used extensively in Malaysian cooking and is available from Asian groceries or Woolies/Coles Asian aisle and this is what it looks like. Alternatively, you can use 1 to 2 tbsps of dark soy/mushroom sauce if you already have this in your pantry (please adjust salt if you are using soy/mushroom sauce as it is quite salty.
  • CP terminology and settings :-
  1. **KACP = KitchenAid Cook Processor
  2. **CP = Cook Processor
  3. **MultiBlade = a sharp blade used for chopping
  4. **StirAssist blade = a specialised silicone blunt blade used for stirring
  5. **140C = is the maximum temp for CP. For other cookers, just use max temp available
  6. **Speed INT = is an ‘Intermittent’ stirring feature of the CP which stirs ingredients every 10 seconds or so. For other cookers without this feature, just use slowest speed available