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When Hanger Strikes

Spicy Rendang Soup

Beef Rendang is a spicy and aromatic dish from Indonesia/Malaysia. It's full of complex flavours and aromatics, lightened up with coconut and often has a sweet and sour taste. It's also typically very spicy, made using a red chili paste base. It's perfect as a curry, and with all of it's complex flavour profiles, it's also beautiful as a spicy soup. Serve it over coconut rice or rice noodles for a hearty meal on a chilly day.


Spicy Rendang Soup

Prep Time: 35 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes Yield: 6-8 servings


For the Paste

  • 2 large shallots or 1 large yellow/brown onion, roughly chopped

  • 8 cloves garlic

  • 3 inches fresh ginger

  • 5-6 dried mild red chilies (use less if they are spicy) soaked in boiling water

  • 1 tbs green curry paste

  • 1 date, pitted

  • 1 tbs jalapeno olive oil

For the Soup

  • 1.3 - 1.5 lbs boneless red meat of choice (venison or beef are my favourite for this recipe)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tbs jalapeno olive oil

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

  • 1 whole black cardamom pod

  • 1 whole star anise

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 1 tbs lychee white balsamic vinegar

  • 6 cups water

  • 2 tsp beef bouillon powder

  • 2 kafir lime leaves

  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk

  • 2 tbs brown sugar

  • Lime wedges, to serve


  1. Start by making the paste. Add all of the ingredients for the paste except for the oil to a food processor. Stream the oil in while you puree into a paste. Puree for 45-60 seconds until you are left with a chunky paste. Set aside until ready to use.

  2. Pat your meat dry very well with a paper towel and cut into large chunks. Season generously with salt and pepper.

  3. To a pressure cooker, add 2 tbs olive oil. Heat up over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the meat in to sear it. Sear for 3 minutes on each side to get a nice brown crust, then remove from the pot.

  4. Without draining any of the fat, add the paste to the pot. Stir and add the cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, black cardamom and star anise. Saute for 5-6 minutes, stirring often, until the paste darkens in colour. Add the seared meat back into the pot, and saute for another 2-3 mins to coat the meat in the paste. Add the shredded coconut and lychee balsamic vinegar and saute for another 2-3 mins to lightly toast the coconut.

  5. Add the water and bouillon powder, then lock on the lid of the pressure cooker. Set the heat to medium, and set a timer for 1 hour. For a regular soup pot version, see notes.

  6. Once the hour is up, turn the heat off and allow the steam to naturally release from the pressure cooker (this takes about 20 minutes). Remove the lid once all the steam has escaped, and turn the heat back to low.

  7. Remove the meat from the soup and shred it using 2 forks. Return to pot, along with the lime leaves, and coconut milk. At this point, taste for salt and add according to taste. Bring the soup up to a boil on high and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Serve hot over rice noodles or coconut rice with lime wedges on the side.


  • To make this without a pressure cooker, you can simply use a large soup pot. When you get to step 5, cover the pot with a lid and simmer on medium low for 4-6 hours. The meat should be so tender that it breaks apart when pressed lightly with a fork. When it's done, continue the recipe from step 7.


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