Grandpa’s Beef Rendang Padang

A plate of rendang with an old colonial Dutch Indonesian cookbook and various ingredients

Rendang Padang is one of my favorite dishes in the world. I have never encountered other people adding new potatoes to their rendang, but that’s how my Sumatran grandfather made it and I cannot veer from tradition in this.

Not only that. It just works really well: the potatoes soak up the flavor of the rendang as it simmers. And the more rendang flavored things I can eat the better. So there.

Rendang padang from the slow cooker

I used to make this on the stove top, stirring my ass off during the final hour to get the rendang to the right level of dryness without burning. These days I make it in a slow cooker and dry it out in a wok. Slow cooking really helps hold the beef together, softening the meat while inserting maximum flavor.

The ingredients for rendang padang in the slowcooker at the start of the cooking process

The meat comes out succulent and flavorful but just bite. I tend to make doubles so I can freeze it in portions and always have some at the ready or turn it into rendang bitterballen.

What do I eat with beef rendang padang?

Traditionally rendang padang is generally not part of the rice table, but is eaten on its own with some plain white rice and used for ceremonies. I serve this as part of a rice table sometimes anyway, just because it’s my favorite Indonesian dish and when people want Indonesian or Dutch-Indonesian food from me they tend to want a rice table.

A plate of rendang with an old colonial Dutch Indonesian cookbook and various ingredients

Opa Bob's Beef Redang Padang Recipe

Dorothy Porker
My Sumatran grandfather's recipe adjusted to make life a little easier for people with a slow cooker, stove top recipe also included
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Slow cooker 8 hrs
Course Bijgerecht, Dinner, Main course
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 4


  • Slow cooker AND
  • Wok OR
  • Dutch oven or other heavy pot


  • 1 oz - 500 gr blade or pot roast beef cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 large onions roughly chopped
  • 2 stems lemon grass tied into a knot
  • 4 makrut lime leaves crushed and bruised - you can find these in Asian super markets, usually in the freezer
  • 2 Indonesian bay leaves fresh or dried from an Asian supermarket
  • 2" - 4 cm galengal
  • 2 T - 30 gr sambal ulek or 2 finely chopped red chilies
  • 3/4 c - 200 ml coconut milk
  • 3/4 c - 200 ml water
  • 5 oz - 150 gr new potatoes optional


To make rendang padang in a slowcooker

  • Basically chuck everything all the ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. I am sure shorter and on high would work equally well, but I never do anything fast in my slow cooker. It seems to defeat the purpose.
  • Once you've finished slow cooking, transfer your rendang to a wok on a high heat and stir gently until almost all of the liquids have evaporated and the meat is coated in a thin layer of caramelized sauce. This can take anywhere from 30 mins to 1 hour.

To make rendang padang in a Dutch oven

  • Chuck all the ingredients, except the new potatoes, in a Dutch oven or other heavy based pot and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat as low as your stove will go and leave to simmer for 2 hours with a tiny corner of the lid propped open with a wooden spoon.
  • Add 5 oz - 150 gr of new potatoes, skin on and leave to simmer for another hour.
  • During the 4th and final hour your rendang should start to dry. Remove the lid, stay close and stir often but gently, to keep the meat intact. You're looking more for a folding than a stirring motion. The rendang is ready when almost all of the liquids have evaporated, the meat is coated in a thin layer of caramelized sauce and the oil starts to separate from the rest of the dish.


If you want to make rendang bitterballen, run the liquid through a sieve after step 1 of the slow cooking process or slow cook your rendang with the lid closed on the stove top for 3 hours before straining the liquid. 
Rendang will keep in a closed container in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months. To reheat, bring to room temperature before frying it up in a dry frying pan until all the meat is heated through.
Keyword Asian food, asian recipes, Indonesian food, Indonesian recipe, rendang, slow cooked, slow cooker

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar voor rendang uit de slowcooker.

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