Thursday, August 8, 2013

Recipe: Rendang Daging Tok Perak + Indian-style stir fried cabbage (Raya Special)

Once again, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all my Muslim friends and readers. Rendang is a popular dish served during the Raya celebrations, and one of my favourite versions is the dark and dry beef rendang from Perak, rendang tok.

Rendang tok is one of Perak's most famous Malay dishes and was once served within palace confines only. I have never made rendang from scratch before, so I challenged myself to attempt this rendang tok recipe from scratch. The beef is first marinated in a spice mix of coriander, fennel, cumin and black peppercorns for 2 hours, and then slow cooked in coconut milk, spice paste (made of shallots, galangal, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass and garlic), kerisik and several other spices such as cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom and kaffir lime leaves.

Rendang Tok Perak

Kerisik is often used in curries and rendangs, and is simply freshly grated coconut which has been toasted until dark brown and then ground to a paste. It is sometimes referred to as coconut butter and gives rendang its unique taste. Although it can be store bought, it has been said the coconut oil which has been kept for some time can smell stale and unappetizing. Making it by scratch is not difficult, but just takes a little time. The toasted coconut filled the room with a wonderful fragrance. I ground the toasted coconut in a mortar and pestle, which took about 15 minutes however I will try it in a food processor next time to save time (especially if results are similar).

Kids helping measure out the spices for the marinade

Oh yes, yesterday also marked the day that I finally unboxed my new Le Creuset pot which I bought during our holidays in UK. Used it for the first time to cook my rendang tok. :)

Isn't she a beauty?

Although there are not many steps in the preparation of rendang tok, the preparation can be quite laborious, especially if everything is ground/pounded using a mortar and pestle. Using a blender/food processor will definitely save a lot of time but I felt like I had a good arm workout yesterday from using the mortar and pestle ;) Once everything is in the pot, you just leave it to simmer away, stirring ocassionally and allow it to reduce until the rendang is dry; this will take approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Apparently it tastes better the next day after the flavours have infused even more, so I cooked 1 kg of beef, thinking that there would be leftover for Raya, but it was so good (according to Hubby) that he had 3 huge helpings. All gone!

For rendang usually, you can use a cheaper cut, and the slow cooking will tenderise the meat. I had some O'Connor braising oyster blade which was wonderfully tender after 2 1/2 hours of cooking, and very fragrant and flavourful from all the spices used. Great for those who like a rendang with a low spiciness level. Truly delicious rendang tok, however in future I must remember to cook at least 2 kg to feed my hungry family :)

The rendang tok was served with a choice of white rice or lemang, and a Indian-style stir fried cabbage. The lemang is bought from a roadside stall near our home, one of the best accompaniments to rendang. I have also shared the simple recipe for the Indian-style stir-fried cabbage, which is quick and easy to cook.

Look at the beautiful sky last evening with double rainbow ;)

Rendang Tok Perak
Recipe by Baby Sumo, ingredients adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 2 1/2 to 3 hours
Serves 4-5

1 kg beef, cut into 3cm chunks

For the beef marinade
2 tbsp coriander seeds (ketumbar)
2 tsp cumin seeds (jintan putih)
2 tsp fennel seeds (jintan manis)
1 tsp black peppercorns (lada hitam)
1 1/2 tsp salt (garam)

For the spice paste
25 shallots (bawang kecil), peeled
7 cloves garlic (bawang putih), peeled
7 stalks lemongrass (batang serai), cut into segments
1” blue ginger (lengkuas/galangal), peeled
1” old ginger (halia),peeled
½” turmeric ( kunyit hidup), peeled

Other ingredients
1 1/2 tbsp red chili powder (serbuk chili)
7 pcs kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut), snipped with scissors
2 tbsp palm sugar (gula Melaka)
7 pcs cardamom (buah pelaga)
6 pcs cloves ( bunga cengkih)
1 pc cinnamon stick (kulit kayu manis)

For the coconut milk
1 coconut (300g), added with 2 cups of water - to yield 300ml thick coconut milk and 250ml thin coconut milk

For the kerisik
100g fresh grated coconut

Salt, to taste

1. Lightly toast the spices (cumin, fennel, coriander seeds) in a wok over low heat for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Using a mortar and pestle (or grinder), grind the spices and peppercorn into powder. Marinade the beef with the spices and salt for 2 hours.

2. To make the kerisik, place the freshly grated coconut into a wok over medium heat and toast until it turns to a dark brown colour. Stir frequently, this will take about 15-20 minutes. Once browned, place the toasted coconut into a mortar and pestle and pound/grind until there is oil released from the kerisik (this will take 15 mins). Set aside. If you want to save time, you can also place the toasted coconut in a food processor to produce kerisik.

Freshly grated coconut

Toasted coconut

Kerisik (after being ground for 15 mins)

3. Place the spice paste ingredients into an electric blender with 3 tbsp of water and blend until you get a paste. (Note: The paste is a bright yellow colour)

Galangal (L) and Turmeric (R)

Place the spice paste ingredients in the blender and blitz

4. Place all ingredients (marinated beef, coconut milk, kerisik, spice paste + other ingredients) into a large pot. Bring to the boil over medium high heat, and once boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until the rendang is dry and meat is tender. (Note: At the start, the liquid will look a pale yellow, then gradually become a darker brown once the rendang gets drier)

Right at the start of cooking (pale yellow)

After 1 1/2 hours, the rendang is a darker brown, and liquid has reduced

5. Season with more salt, as necessary.

6. Remove and serve with rice or lemang.

Indian-style stir fried cabbage
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 6-7 minutes
Serves 4

450g cabbage, sliced thinly
2 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp black mustard seeds (biji sawi)
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp vegetable stock granules
Salt, to taste

1. In a wok, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic, black mustard seeds and turmeric, then stir fry for 3 minutes, until garlic is lightly browned and fragrant. Add the cabbage and cook for 2-3 minutes, until slightly softened. Season with vegetable stock granules and salt. Serve immediately.

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*This recipe was featured on Asian Food Channel's Facebook page on 5 October 2014.


  1. Happy Holiday!
    The rendang looks so yummy! But I think it's too advance for us, hehehe.
    So lucky can see double rainbow!

    1. Hehe happy holidays to you too. Actually it is not difficult to cook this rendang, just need time and patience. :D

  2. Wow, this is so delicious and I'm sure I need an extra lemang for this. Yummy :)

    1. We bought one whole lemang to go with this rendang... yum yum!

  3. wow, double rainbow!!! Its quite rare! Although the second was quite faint you sure are lucky to see both!

    1. Yea was so happy to see this after dinner time :)

  4. you were lucky to see double rainbows! My pot has similar colour like your Le Creuset pot but mine is a very cheap pot from China, hehehe, but it work well for me. Thanks for the mentioned. It is worth to prepare this rendang from the scratch right? Taste simply wonderful.

    1. Hehe I bought my Le Creuset in UK... really worth it, cos in KL the price is 4x for the same one. Thanks for sharing the recipe, like it very much!

  5. Yen, your Rendang Tok looks fantastic! And I love your La Creuset pot too :)

    1. Thanks PH! If u go overseas to UK/US, must buy a Le Creuset back as souvenir too :) Hehe!

  6. Wah.. new pot cooks best eh? The rendang looks super tender.. yum2!

    1. Hehe we used Black Angus oyster blade so it was super tender!

  7. i like your shiny attractive pot! and looks like it produced an enviably beautiful rendang. sounds like a lot of spices and ingredients went into it. am envisioning a really fragrant and flavorful recipe! :D

    1. I love my shiny pot too :) Hubby was just joking yesterday tht he thought I bought it as an ornament :P Glad to finally use it, hoping to make lots and lots of stews/casseroles in it.

      The rendang is really good, I think u will like it too cos it's very mild in spiciness.

  8. So delicious, cooked with love!

  9. Sedap nye! I would like to try this recipe , my family love rendang but I've not cook it before . Only makan at my sister's place . She loves to cook rendang but short cut recipe! LOL Yours looks so appetizing & I can imagine the amazing aroma ! Sedaplicious! ;)

  10. What a mouthwatering spread. I'd love the rendang to go with the lemang...mmm!

  11. I adore rendang, especially when it has a really thick sauce and tender texture. And congratulations on your new pot-I love the vibrant colour! :D

  12. I love your new pot and the rendang! cabbage is also my favourite dish to go with spicy meats.

  13. looks great! definitely one recipe to keep... looking forward to trying it out one of these days :)

  14. Happy holiday! I don't take beef but both the fish still look tasty to me :)

  15. Craving rendang but if I cook it I will be the only one eating :( Any leftovers?

  16. Your rendang looks delicious, will have to try it out one day as I've never tasted rendang tok before. Love cabbage too, thanks for posting the recipe :)

  17. so lazy to cook a dish with so much ingredients, but it's too irresistible, I guess I just kick my butt and cook this dish! :)

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