beef curry

Quick beef rendang-style curry

OK, when I cook something three times in one week, I know I'm onto a winner!

A traditional - utterly gorgeous - Malaysian beef rendang takes HOURS to cook, like a great stew, it can't be hurried.

But ... I really wanted those flavours ... but much more quickly.

And this is super-simple and really fast - it takes about 20 minutes to cook and only perhaps 10 minutes to prepare and - as I said - so good I've made it three times this week (already).

I pretended to myself I needed to perfect the recipe before sharing it but actually, the recipe is so simple I didn't really need to, I just wanted to.

Cook some rice while you prepare the ingredients, and it can then sit and steam while you cook the curry.

For two people, you'll need

a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated

a thumb-sized piece of root turmeric, peeled and grated - or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

one stalk of lemongrass - cut a cm or so from the base then a couple of inches from the top, remove the outer woody layers (you'll need to just see what works for your lemongrass, but you want to be able to chop it easily) - minced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 red birds eye chillies, diced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 whole cloves, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 onion, peeled and sliced

sirloin or rump steak - how much is kind of up to you but I think around 300g for two people

2 teaspoons cooking oil

1 tin coconut milk

1 stick of cinnamon, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 - 1 juicy lime

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt


Put the ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, chillies, coriander, cumin and cloves into a mortar, add a splash of water and use a pestle or rolling pin to pound into a beautiful paste.

Slice the onion and the steak so they're ready to go.

Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang
Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang
Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang

Add the oil to a non-stick pan and when hot tip in the spice mixture so it sizzles.

Stir for maybe 30 seconds to a minute - until it releases that gorgeous flavour - and add a tiny splash of water if you think it might be sticking.

Then add the onions and beef - and another splash of water - and cook, stirring often, until the beef is browned all over - about three minutes.

Tip in the coconut milk then add the cinnamon, lime juice, sugar and salt.

Stir to mix and then simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly.

Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang
Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang

Serve with rice and a couple of slices of a milder red chilli - mainly just because it's looks nice and also because I'm a chilli fiend!

Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang

I LOVE this dish and I love that it's so quick and simple that you can make something that tastes really special for a midweek dinner.

Well, actually - it IS a bit special.

It has creamy coconut milk and good steak.

A great winter supper to feel warmed and comforted - this is a really good one.