Indonesian Beef Stew (Rendang Daging and Kalio)

In the world of long stewed meat dishes, Beef Rendang might actually reign supreme. All major stews evolved out of poverty and the need to braise cheaper and tougher cuts of meat for long periods of time. Rendang originated using the meat from local water buffalo. The competition for best stew is fierce, with classic stews like like Belgium’s beef carbonnade, France’s boeuf  bourguignon, America’s chili, the tagines of Morocco, and India’s many curries all in the mix.

It’s the sweet coconut milk and exotic spices of Southeast Asia that separate rendang from the others. Saucy versions of rendang, like Kalio, are cooked throughout the country. In the Rendang Daging version from Sumatra presented here, the sauce is boiled down until it leaves the beef cubes coated in an intensely flavored paste.

Indonesian beef rendang

Rendang Daging and Kalio (Indonesian Coconut Beef Stew, 2 ways)

This dish is a welcome departure from other traditional stews. It takes very little time to throw everything together but does cook slow- typically 2½ to 3 hours. The sweet flavor absorbed by the meat cubes makes this dish an instant favorite. It can be made days in advance and refrigerated. It also freezes well and the recipe doubles easily. The Sumatran Rendang Dagang version is slightly sweeter and has a much more concentrated sauce than the Kalio version that uses the same ingredients and process but is "wet" and doesn't concentrate the sauce further by cooking it away at the end. Both are revelations.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Brunch, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Indonesia, Southeast Asian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Wok
  • Food Processor or blender


  • ½ tsp Crushed laos or powdered
  • 2 tsp Fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 small Hot red chilies, stemmed and chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 4 cup Coconut milk
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass, bottom 6-inches, crushed
  • 2 Bay leaf
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaf
  • 2 small Tomato, chopped (preferably green)
  • lb Lean beef chuck, cut into 1½-inch cubes (Sub: pre-cut stew meat)
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


  • Prepare Braising Liquid – In a food processor or blender, process ginger, laos, chiles, and garlic into a coarse paste. Blend in the coriander and turmeric.
    In a wok, combine coconut milk, pureed paste, lemon grass, bay leaves, Kaffir lime leaves, and tomato. Bring to a boil and the reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Cook Rendang – Add the beef cubes and bring back to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Let the meat bubble gently, stirring frequently, until sauce become thick and meat is tender, about 2½ hours. Oil will begin to separate out at this point. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve Kalio at this point.
    For Rendang Daging, turn the heat to high and fry the meat until the meat is browned but not scorched. Stir constantly. Season with salt and pepper.
    Serve either in a large bowl accompanied by white rice, cucumber salad, and a sambal.


  • Rendang can be made and refrigerated a few days in advance or frozen for months. Warm in a microwave.


Calories: 497kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 877mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 424IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 7mg

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