{Paleo} Beef Rendang

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The moment I saw this recipe in this months Saveur Magazine, I knew I would be making it. Not only it is Whole30 compliant but includes some of my favorite aromatics and spices.


A couple of these ingredients can be hard to find so do your best. If you can’t find fresh turmeric, use ground. If you can’t find galangal, use double the amount of regular ginger. Do yourself a favor and buy the macadamia nuts from the bulk section. I think 5 cost me less than $0.60 whereas a container is around $15 or $20.

Now, the ONLY bad thing about this Paleo Beef Rendang is that it is not exactly a weeknight dinner. I categorized this as a Sunday Supper because it indeed takes a number of hours to cook.

The good news is that the prep time is pretty minimal and the food processor does the lion’s share of the work. The other good news is that this smells heavenly while it cooks and you might have to take a little taste *almost* every time you stir it, you know, just for good measure to make sure it’s not burning or anything.


  • James Oseland calls for boneless beef chuck which is the type of meat hamburger is made from and usually 20% fat. I chose to use a slightly leaner cut of beef. It was classified as “Stew Meat” and I got it at Whole Foods. You do not want to use a very lean beef or it will be very dry and tough after cooking for over 3 hours. If you are not sure what to buy, ask the butcher and tell them you are going to be cooking the beef for a over 3 hours.
  • Traditionally, this dish is cooked even longer until the sauce is almost gone, just sticking to the meat and the meat begins to caramelize in it’s fat and what is left of the coconut milk. While that does make for a much more beautiful presentation and color on the meat, my family really prefers this dish with a rich sauce over the beef and cauliflower rice.

Adapted From: Beef Rendang by James Oseland, Saveur Magazine May 2013

4.8 from 6 reviews
{Paleo} Beef Rendang
12 Points Plus Per Serving -- Serves 4 {I served each portion of 0 Point Cauliflower Rice and alongside a huge 1 PP per person salad}
Serves: 4
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 whole nutmeg, smashed with the back of a knife
  • 4 thai green chiles, ends trimmed
  • 5 macadamia nuts
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 shallots, peels and chopped into chunks
  • 2" piece fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2" piece fresh galangal, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1" piece fresh turmeric, peeled OR 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 2 pounds (boneless) beef stew meat (see NOTES), cut into 2" cubes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 whole sticks cinnamon
  • 7 kaffir lime leaves plus more for garnish
  • 3 long stalks lemongrass, pounded and tied in knots
  • 1 13.5-ounce can full fat organic coconut milk (1¾ cups)
  • ¾ cup stock or water
  1. Begin by smashing the nutmeg with the back of your knife.
  2. Wash chiles and trim the ends off.
  3. Toss crushed nutmeg and chiles into the bowl of a food processor along with the whole cloves, macadamia nuts, peeled garlic, shallots, ginger, galangal, turmeric and coconut oil.
  4. Process until mixture forms a paste. You will have to stop the processor and scrap down the sides a couple of times.
  5. Grab lemongrass, wash and trim ends. Use the back of your knife to pound the stalks so that they are pliable. Knot each one and set aside.
  6. Place beef in a dutch oven (or other heavy-bottomed pot) and combine with spice paste (I used my hands).
  7. Sprinkle with kosher salt, toss in cinnamon, kaffir lime and knotted lemongrass.
  8. Finally, pour in coconut milk and stock.
  1. Place pot on burner and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to medium low and cook three hours, stirring frequently (every 15 to 20 minutes) so that coconut milk doesn't burn.
  2. After three hours, remove cinnamon, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and continue cooking an additional 20 to 30 minutes until sauce is thick and sticks to the back of a spoon.
  3. Remove from heat, serve hot over cauliflower rice and top with thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves.

Paleo Beef Rendang from www.everydaymaven.com

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  1. Scott says

    Yum! Great recipe and I love how you always make me try different spices. Only found a semi ground version of galangal and no whole tumeric. Been a whole since I used cloves in any manner! Never used whole nutmeg either. I think I’ll add some veggies next time to bulk it up. Maybe carrots or some other root veggies. Kinda like the Indian chicken stew. Love the heat of the peppers tho! We’re headed to Turkey soon and looking forward to checking out the spice market in Istanbul.

  2. Kathy says

    This is delicious! Thanks for a great recipe and I love all your little helpful comments and tips. I liked your comment about adding chilli or hot sauce after serving another dish as I’m also cooking for young children as well and I often make two different dishes. This dish tasted even better the next day.

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Lauren,
      Yes and No. Yes because of the cooking time but No because it cooks uncovered and the sauce reduces the whole time. If you made it in the crockpot, the sauce wouldn’t really reduce because the moisture is locked in. It would be more like a thick curry!

  3. says

    Great dish! And one I haven’t had in a long, long time. I usually use chuck in something like this, and if I’m worried about the fat, I just skim it from the surface (tilt the pot a little and it collects, and is pretty easy to remove). But you’re right that any stew meat will work. Great recipe, fun post – thanks.
    john@kitchenriffs recently posted..Walnut Roll CakeMy Profile

    • EverydayMaven says

      Thanks Nancy – it is a favorite around here – next time I need to make a triple batch so I can stock my freezer since it takes so long to make!

    • EverydayMaven says

      It is one of those dishes Joanne – not sure how it would be Vegetarian but maybe a mix of hearty mushrooms would work?

  4. Eha says

    I fell in love with rendand decades ago [not hard when one lives in Australia :) !]. Knowing quite a few small local spice merchants have been lazy and oft bought their rendang mix – BUT, I really love what you have put in yours and want to try! Besides having to use ground turmeric, my own lemongrass is about the size on the photos, so . . .

    • EverydayMaven says

      I think ground turmeric will be just fine! Love that you are growing your own lemongrass Eha!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hopefully it works out and since everything is getting ground up in the food processor, it doesn’t matter if the are already sliced, diced or chopped!

  5. says

    I love beef rendang – it is an amazing stew, and the whole house smells so good! I made it already 4 times this year. My recipe is pretty similar to yours, only I cannot find kaffir lime leaves, so I use lime juice. I serve mine with regular rice, but I am curious to try the cauliflower version. Beautiful post – makes me want to make another batch :-).
    cooking rookie recently posted..Tilapia with Lemon SauceMy Profile

    • EverydayMaven says

      Maybe Kali – although the the sauce develops a complex flavor from cooking for so long and the beef rendering a bit! If you try it, let me know how it turns out :)

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