Makcik Sham’s Homemade Malay Beef Rendang (Aunty Sham’s Dry Beef Curry)

Good morning and Selamat Hari Raya, dear friends πŸ˜€

Today is known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Malaysia and as I am posting this, there are joyous sounds of fireworks in my area. Muslims all over the world are celebrating the end of their month long fasting (Ramadan), and today, there are prayers of thanksgiving, new clothes are worn, forgiveness is asked from elders and friends, and delicious home-cooked delicacies are brought out as friends of all races drop by to visit their Muslim friends. πŸ˜€

This year, I decided to cook some traditional Malay food to celebrate today’s festive occasion with my family. Yesterday, I was slaving away in the kitchen from 10am until 7pm in the evening to cook Ketupat (rice in coconut leaf casings), Makcik Sham’s Beef RendangΒ  (Aunty’s Dried Beef Rendang ), and Kuah Kacang (Peanut Sauce, which is also served with Satay) . My efforts were well worth it and my face was beaming away when I saw my husband and children enjoying those dishes today, going for second and third helpings! πŸ˜†

So, for today, I will post this Dry Beef Curry recipe for you to try. I will be putting the substitute ingredients in brackets for those of you that can’t get them where you stay. πŸ˜‰

I first tasted this delicious rendang 4 years ago from the elderly (78 years old) makcik (aunty) named fondly as MakcikΒ Sham, who was my neighbour. She lived alone with her husband and every year, she would give me some homemade rendang, lemang and ketupat.

The rendang was so delicious that I asked her for her family recipe and she taught me roughly (because she didn’t use exact theΒ measurements) how to cook this Rendang Tok. After sourcing for a good recipe, I tried my hand cooking and the results were fantastic tasting Rendang Tok! The recipe may look tedious and difficult, but if you follow the steps here, it is very easy to cook and the taste is worth a zillion times the efforts you put into it! :-

Makcik’s Rendang Tok

1 kg topside beef, cut into 1-inch cubes

Ingredients to be blended with 1/2 cup water :-

10 fresh red chillies, deseeded

10 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water, deseeded

1 inch knob ginger

1 inch knob galangal/lengkuas (if don’t have this, replace with ginger)

1 inch knob fresh turmeric, or 1 tbsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp fennel powder

(* if don’t have cumin and fennel, replace with meat curry powder)

1 tbsp white pepper

1/2 tsp black pepper

25 shallots (or 4 large onions)

8 cloves garlic

Method – Marinate the beef together with the blended ingredients for 2 hours before cooking.

Other ingredients

2 1/2 cups coconut milk (from 2 coconuts, or 2 cans or 2 boxes)

3 pieces Kaffir Lime leaves

3 stalks Serai/Lemon Grass (use bottom 3 inches, bruised lightly to let out aromatic oils)

1 10-inch daun kunit or turmeric leaf, finely shredded

kerisik (1 cup grated fresh coconut or dried dessicated coconut, dry toasted in pan over small fire until golden brown. Chop finely in food processor, or pounded in pestle and mortar)

** Salt & Sugar, to be added when the rendang is almost done

Method :-

1) Bring beef and marinade, and all other ingredients (**except salt) in a wok or large, deep pan to boil.

2) Lower heat to medium, stirring occasionally to prevent burning and cook until the liquid is almost dry – takes about 1 1/2 hours or so.

3) Season to taste, and remove from heat. The rendang tastes even better the next day as the flavours would have mellowed.

Serve with ketupat or hot white rice or with bread. Be sure to have some freshly cut cucumbers on the side.

I will post the Kuah Kacang recipe later. πŸ˜‰

Bon Appetit!

May your days be filled with sunshine, joy and love always!

choesf πŸ˜€


24 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    cecima said,

    looks yummy!


  2. 2

    confused said,

    Thank you. I’m confused a bit though about 2 items:
    1. 1 inch knob fresh turmeric, 1 tbsp turmeric powder < use both or the powder is a substitute?
    2. 1 tbsp white powder < what is this?



  3. 3

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there and welcome, dear confused πŸ˜€

    Thank you for your queries – I have amended the ingredients accordingly. πŸ˜†

    It should read as –

    1) 1 inch knob fresh turmeric, OR 1 tbsp turmeric powder

    2) the white powder is WHITE PEPPER 😳

    With peace and harmony,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  4. 4

    confused said,

    Thank you mucho for your reply. I’m proud to say that I made ‘beef redang’! Me runs around room πŸ™‚ (I’ve heard so many times its very difficult). I actually made 2 different recipes for the 1st time to test and everyone said your recipe is much better, and it was, and not difficult at all.
    Hugs :)) & thank you again.


  5. 5

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there, dear confused πŸ˜€

    Whoo…hooo…I’m proud of you, too, for cooking rendang πŸ˜€ . It took me a long time before I ventured into cooking my own rendang because I had thought it was difficult….but once you have tried your hand at it, it is really easy, right? πŸ˜‰

    I forgot to mention in this post that that Makcik Sham used to give me her own homemade beef rendang, ketupat and lemang on the first day of every Hari Raya Festival and her really delicious rendang inspired me to learn its recipe from her. I’m glad she taught me because I moved away 4 years ago and I missed her rendang. That was why I decided to cook some last year and I shall do the same for this Hari Raya – on October 1, and I shall post the latest photos here.

    Thank you for testing out my beef rendang recipe. πŸ˜€

    With many hugs back,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  6. 6

    shalynne said,

    Hi from Dublin. I shall be trying your recipe tomorrow – wish me luck!


  7. 7

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there and welcome, dear Shalynne from Dublin πŸ˜€

    Good Luck with your beef rendang! Today, I’m going to the market to get the rendang ingredients as well as the ketupat casings and tomorrow, I will be cooking these. Will post some pictures tomorrow. πŸ˜€

    I’ll be glad to know how your beef rendang turns out!

    Have a wonderful week!

    With peace and joy,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  8. 8

    Shalynne said,

    Hi again! Selamat Hari Raya! Thanks so much for the recipe. I modified it a little (because I don’t own a food processor), in that I sauted the onions in 4 tablespoons of canola oil first. Then, I added the dried chillies, crushed lemongrass and 8 cardamon pods until the oil became fragrant. I later ‘browned’ the marinated beef slightly (to which I also added 1 tspn cinnamon powder and 1 tspn nutmeg powder) before I put in the coconut milk. By the way, my rendang was on the stove on low heat for 4 hours! The result was marvelous, though, and I am saying this after looking at my 2 ‘angels’ feasting on it just now.
    Thanks again for sharing your wonderful recipe. May Allah bless you!!


  9. 9

    Shalynne said,

    One other thing, over here in Dublin, it’s difficult to get fresh lengkuas, so, I used 2 tspn galangal powder instead. I also substituted the ginger with 2 tbsp ginger paste……..


  10. 10

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, dear Shalynne πŸ˜€

    Your rendang sounds absolutely delicious – it must be so tender and all the flavours are well infused into the meat after being cooked slowly over the stove for 4 hours. Some of the ingredients can be substituted if they are not available…the most important ingredient that we must have is the coconut milk and the long cooking process to give the “rendang” flavour, and not simply a “curry” flavour. πŸ˜‰

    May Allah bless you and your angels, too!

    With peace and joy,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  11. 11

    Fieza said,


    eid mubarak to you and your family. thanks for sharing the marvelous recipe. it turned out great.

    but, i was just wondering how do we get that ‘black’ color like those sold at bazaar ramadhan? could it be the meat they used? some perakians said they used buffalo meat instead of beef..wallahu’alam

    so, i ended adding ‘gula merah’ and a wee bit of soy sauce to get that so-called authentic color of rendang tok.

    nevertheless, the result was excellent (to my standard that is πŸ˜‰

    take care…keep sharing..:-)


  12. 12

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there and welcome, dear Fieza πŸ˜€

    Happy Eid Mubarak to you and your family, too! πŸ˜€

    The rendang that is sold at the ramadan bazaars have been cooked for a very long time and until the beef is almost dry (to allow the rendang to be kept over a long period of time without going bad). The roasted kerisik (toasted coconut) also adds on to the dark colour. πŸ˜‰

    Thank you for letting me know how your delicious rendang went.

    With peace and joy,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  13. 13

    […] This recipe is an adaptation from Makcik Sham’s Beef Rendang recipe which I had posted last year HERE . […]


  14. 14

    Nic said,

    Hi Choesf. I’ve read both recipes & pictorial step by step. Can you please clarify? 1) to marinate beef with blended ingredients or salt/tenderiser (as stated in pic recipe?) 2) kaffir lime not mention in pictorial recipe – do I put it in together with the turmeric leaf? Thank you very much. Nic x


  15. 15

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there, dear Nic πŸ˜€

    Makcik Sham’s method calls for marinating the blended ingredients with the beef and just boil them altogether until they are dry like rendang. Remember to stir occasionally to prevent burning.

    The pictorial recipe for rendang is my own version, which was adapted from Makcik Sham’s. See which one you prefer to follow…they both tastes fantastic! πŸ˜‰

    Yes, the kaffir lime leaf can be put together with the turmeric leaf.

    With best wishes,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  16. 16

    Bessy said,

    Hi Choesf,

    I’ve linked to this recipe from my site. I encourage people to have a go at making it themselves! In my country not a lot of people know how tasty Malaysian style cooking is πŸ™‚


  17. 17

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there, dear Bessy πŸ˜€

    Thank you for linking up my recipe. May I know which country you are from? There are many types of cuisine in Malaysia due to its ethnic groups and sometimes we combine the styles of cooking, sort of like a fusion.

    I like your blog – good title there. Often, I have to figure out what’s for dinner and I shall visit your site for some ideas. I have added you to my Blogroll, too.

    Do have a lovely week ahead!

    With best wishes,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  18. 18

    vivien said,

    I don’t have dried chillies or serai/lemon grass here so can you let me know the substitute for them?


    • 19

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Vivien πŸ˜€

      If you don’t have dried chillies, you can use cayenne pepper/chilli powder, bottled chilli sauce, or fresh red/bird-eye chilli. The chilli can be omitted and degree of spiciness is therefore reduced.

      For the serai/lemon grass, perhaps you can add in a tablespoon of lemon zest instead ❓

      This year’s Hari Raya, I used another rendang recipe and it was the best I have ever cooked and tasted…..check out the recipe HERE. πŸ˜‰

      Happy Cooking!

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  19. 20

    kerisik_confused said,

    I have 2 questions regarding ‘kerisik’ if you could please:

    1. It sounds like your kerisik is only pounded/processed to a point of still being ‘dry, just cut up smaller,’ NOT pounded until it turns into a paste/liquid.
    Is that correct?

    2. How much of toasted grated coconut do you use to acquire 1 cup of kerisik?

    2. Are there different names for kerisik that is pounded to the point of still being dry but broken up more? Like here:

    And kerisik that is pounded until it releases its oils and is liquid?
    Like here:

    Thank you πŸ™‚


    • 21

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hello there and welcome, dear kerisik confused πŸ˜€

      I am not totally sure but kerisik refers to pounded roasted coconut, whether in powder or oily paste forms. Both types are okay for use in rendangs. For me, I prefer the powder form because there is already a lot of oil produced from cooking the curry into dry rendangs and I don’t want more oil in my kerisik. Plus, the powder form requires much less work and effort at pounding. πŸ˜‰

      It is up to your preference to use which type of kerisik. πŸ˜‰

      I’m sorry I don’t know how much of the fresh grated coconut is required to make 1 cup of kerisik. Usually, I buy 1 whole grated coconut and toast it all. If there is any extra kerisik leftover from cooking rendangs, I store it in the freezer for future uses. πŸ’‘

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


      • 22

        kerisik_confused said,

        Thanks for the reply and clarification! πŸ™‚
        This morning I prepped for making rendang on Monday so I purchased a massive wok and toasted 14 cups of freshly grated coconut thinking I might need 1 cup of liquidized kerisik (& have some dry kerisik for other stuff) haha.
        Well I shan’t be needing to do that again for a while hehe.

        Thanks again for sharing πŸ˜€


  20. 23

    chankamleng said,

    Hi! Your recipe looks interesting and thank you for sharing. I am goimg to try it. Could you advise me where to get turmeric leaf? And can I substitute it with bay leaf or lime leaf? πŸ™‚


    • 24

      Hi there, dear chankamleng πŸ˜€

      I’m sorry, I forgot which country you are from 😳 … but in Malaysia, the turmeric leaf can be found in the section selling ginger, lemon grass, galangal, etc. πŸ’‘

      If you can’t find turmeric leaf, it is okay to omit that ingredient because it has a unique aroma and taste of its own…maybe you can add a little more turmeric (fresh or powder)?

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


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