Ox Cheek Rendang

Recipe for Beef Rendang

Beef rendang is a rich curry of Indonesian origin, primarily flavoured using coconut milk, kerisik (browned coconut) and lemongrass. Usually made using cubed stewing beef, this recipe for Ox Cheek Rendang runs with the dish’s intensely flavourful credentials, making use of what is arguably the finest cut of meat for slow-cooking.

Served on special occasions in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore beef (or ox cheek) rendang is a dish that takes time, patience and understanding. The more of each of these you give your curry, the better it’ll taste.

In my mind, key to an outrageously successful rendang is the addition of kerisik, or light browned coconut. Traditionally speaking kerisik would always be made with freshly grated coconut, but since you’re drying it out anyway desiccated works just fine.

What the kerisik does, other than add extraordinary flavour, is to help soak up and lock-in surplus moisture in the curry, giving your rendang its trademark thick, unctuous look. But the coconut doesn’t stop there; coconut milk helps sweeten and enrich the recipe, adding fat and contributing greatly to its overall flavour.

Recipe for Ox Cheek Rendang

Ox cheek is simply divine and my favourite cut of meat from any animal. Once you’ve tried it, it’ll be difficult to go back; the way the meat almost melts in your mouth is inimitable. For more ways to make use of this under-appreciated cut, see my recipes for Ox Cheek Goulash and Ale Braised Ox Cheek.

Ox Cheek Rendang

Serves 4-6


for the paste:

  • 3 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized chunk of ginger
  • 10 dried chillies, soaked and de-seeded
  • 1 lemongrass shoot

for the curry:

  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon bark
  • 700g ox cheek, in large pieces
  • 1 lemongrass shoot, tough outer removed and finely chopped
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tbsp tamarind, soaked and pips removed
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tbsp soft brown/palm sugar
  • 6 tbsp desiccated coconut (kerisik), lightly browned
  • salt, to taste


  1. Pop all the ingredients for the paste into a food processor and whizz until smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and gently saute the prepared paste along with the star anise, cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon bark.
  3. After 2 minutes tip in the pieces of ox cheek and brown on all sides. Once browned add the lemongrass, coconut milk, water, tamarind, lime leaves, sugar and kerisik.
  4. Make sure everything is well combined before reducing the heat to a gentle simmer, cover with the lid and cook slowly for 2-3 hours.
  5. After 2-3 hours the excess moisture should have been soaked up, but if it hasn’t simply remove the lid and allow to reduce a little. Season to taste and serve with rice.

Beef Rendang Recipe Ox Cheek Rendang Recipe

Cost: The ingredients list for this dish may seem extensive and expensive, but you have to remember that ox cheek is one of the cheaper cuts. Avoiding anywhere too expensive you should be able to source the meat for as little as £4.

As a result, this delicious Indonesian ox cheek rendang should set you back no more than around £6.

  • 0

    Overall Score

  • Reader Rating: 0 Votes

You May Also Like

23 comments on “Ox Cheek Rendang

  1. Janice (@FarmersgirlCook)
    November 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    That looks

  2. Janice (@FarmersgirlCook)
    November 4, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    oops, I was overcome with the gorgeousness of that Rendang.

  3. Claire Sambolino
    November 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Great recipe and I absolutely love ox cheek so couldn’t agree more!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 16, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      I find they are under appreciated, but shouldn’t be!

  4. clubschadenfreude
    November 4, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    looks lovely. for tender falling apart beef, I find it’s a bit easier to get beef chuck here in the States. If you can get what is called a “chuck eye” so much the better. Ask at your butchers’ shop or meat department in a grocery store. They may have it in back, if it doesn’t sell well enough to give it case/wall space.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 16, 2014 at 10:59 pm

      I can find most cuts easily here and if not I tweet my butcher 🙂

  5. cookinginsens
    November 4, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Those are very long grains on that rice! Basmati?

  6. MemoirsOfAnotherDay
    November 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I’m coming over tomorrow!

  7. Michelle
    November 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    I want that now!

  8. Conor Bofin
    November 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Beautiful Nick. I cooked beef cheeks, for the first time, on Sunday. Delicious after four and a half hours slowly cooking in a low oven. Post to follow at some stage…

    • frugalfeeding
      November 16, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      Thank you, Conor – that sounds perfect 🙂

  9. Alice Challet - alicethefrog
    November 6, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Thanks for liking my post: gave me a good reason to wander here. Beautiful blog you have going! Everything looks delicious 😀

  10. Chica Andaluza
    November 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Looks and sounds absolutely amazing. Tried to buy pig or ox cheeks a few weeks ago at the butcher but they said they have to buy huge boxes of them and Bexhill on Sea just isn’t ready for them 🙁

    • frugalfeeding
      November 16, 2014 at 11:11 pm

      Thank you! That’s such a shame. There must be somewhere!

  11. Karishma
    November 9, 2014 at 2:47 am

    This looks so comforting and delicious. It’s definitely one of those dishes that only tastes good with a lot of love and time!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 17, 2014 at 9:47 am

      I completely agree – no room for impatience here.

  12. myfangalicious
    January 4, 2015 at 1:40 am

    I love rendang. your recipe looks great and again the photography is always so beautiful

    • frugalfeeding
      January 5, 2015 at 10:06 am

      This was a seriously delicious recipe, I’d like to make it again. Thank you :).

Leave a Reply to Claire Sambolino Cancel reply