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Sous Vide Beef Rendang Recipe

Sous vide beef rendang

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Beef Rendang is the national dish of Indonesia. I've already blogged my recipe for Rendang many years ago. Back then, I didn't think it made sense to prepare it sous vide, as an important part of making Rendang is reducing and browning, which does not happen in sous vide cooking.

However, since then I have learned a lot about hybrid approaches, where the sauce is reduced separately from the meat, which is browned briefly and then cooked sous vide with the sauce that has already been reduced, such as in my sous vide version of Ragù alla Bolognese.

And so it was time to try and make beef Rendang sous vide using a similar technique. And guess what? It turned out great! And it takes less tending than regular Rendang, which requires quite a bit of stirring, especially towards the end. I'd have to do a side-by-side comparison to confirm, but the tenderness and juiciness of the meat seems better than with regular Rendang, and the sauce just as good.

Another advantage of making this sous vide is that you can use less coconut milk. If you consider there is 80 grams of fat in a single can of coconut milk (that is about how much fat you should eat in a day altogether), it's nice that the sous vide recipe uses half the amount of the original.

From the ISVA Editors

Beef Rendang made with sous vide takes the national dish of Indonesia and makes it time consuming to watch over as it always stays the perfect temperature.

Want more like this? Our comprehensive book Champions of Sous Vide is a great collection of more than 70 sous vide recipes from two dozen top sous vide cooks.

Sous Vide Beef Rendang Recipe

  • Published: October 19, 2021
  • By Stefan Boer, 
  • Total Time: 24 hours
  • Cooks: 165°F (74°C) for 24 hours
  • Serves: 4-8

Ingredients for Sous Vide Beef Rendang

  • For the Bumbu

  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 fresh red chile pepper (or more if you like it very spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped galangal
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lemon grass, chopped (sereh)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • For the Beef

  • 700 grams stewing beef, cut into thick steaks (1.6 lbs)
  • 1 can coconut milk (400 ml, 1 2/3 cup)
  • For the Rendang

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon trassi (Indonesian fermented shrimp powder)
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (Indonesian chili paste)
  • 1 bay leaf (an Idonesian bay leaf is better if you can find it, salaam)
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf (may be dried, djeroek poeroet)
  • To Finish

  • Sweet Indonesian soy sauce (kecap manis), to taste
  • White rice
  • Indonesian spicy green beans
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Cooking Instructions for Sous Vide Beef Rendang

For the Bumbu 

Chop the ginger, chile, galangal, garlic, lemongrass and onion. Then process all of this together in the food processor to make a bumbu. This is the Indonesian equivalent of what is called curry paste in Thai cooking. For a more traditional approach, you could also use a mortar and pestle. 

For the Beef 

Season the beef with salt. 

Do not shake the coconut milk. Scoop off the thick white coconut cream that floats on top, and put it in a frying pan. Heat the coconut cream until it starts to 'break'. Sear the beef in the coconut cream for a couple of minutes per side. This is just to brown the beef a little; it should remain raw inside. 

Take the beef out of the pan and put it on a plate. Do not clean the pan. 

For the Rendang 

Add the bumbu and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the bumbu is golden brown. 

Now add the cumin, coriander, cloves, turmeric, and trassi, and stir for another minute. 

Add the remaining coconut milk and a tablespoon of sambal oelek and the bay leaf and lime leaf. Bring to a boil and allow to reduce, stirring regularly. 

Add the juices that will have leaked from the meat. Keep reducing over medium heat until it's very thick and the color has darkened. This will take about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf and lime leaf. 

To Sous Vide the Beef 

Cut the beef into cubes. It will still be raw inside. Add the cubed beef to the sauce and stir until the beef is coated with the sauce. 

If using a Ziploc bag, you can now put the meat and sauce into a bag and close it with the water displacement method. If using a chamber vacuum sealer, allow meat and sauce to cool off completely before vacuum sealing. 

Cook sous vide for 24 hours at 165°F (74°C). 

After cooking sous vide, you can chill the bag in ice water and freeze it. If so, simply reheat directly from frozen in the sous vide at 165°F (74°C) for a couple of hours when planning to serve. 

To Finish 

To serve, open the bag and strain the juices into a pan using a fine sieve. Reserve the beef. 

Bring the juices to a boil and allow to reduce over medium heat. 

When the sauce has thickened, season it to taste with kecap manis. There are also recipes that call for adding salt and palm sugar, but using kecap manis instead (of which salt and palm sugar are important ingredients) has two benefits: it adds some more color and it adds some more flavor.

Now add the reserved beef and stir to coat the beef with the sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat at once.

Serve with white rice and Indonesian green beans.

Want more like this? Our comprehensive book Champions of Sous Vide is a great collection of more than 70 sous vide recipes from two dozen top sous vide cooks.

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