Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Malay Mutton Rendang or Rendang Daging : Reliving Memories Of Malaysia

Rendang Daging Recipe

‘Malaysia, Truly Asia’. No this is not just the tagline of Malaysian Tourism, it actually complements Malaysia. This country represents every bit of Asia, not just South East Asia. This vast variation lies in the root of the country. Over the ages people from various cultures and from different parts of the world has came to Malaysia and whatever be their purpose it is undoubtedly true that they all have made this country richer and more beautiful with their own influences. The major influences that made today’s Malaysia are Chinese, Indian, Persian, British and Arabic.

Meat Coconut Curry

These different cultures have actually got absorbed in Malay culture and now it’s hard to differentiate the original Malay culture from them. Influence of various cultures on Malay culture reflects everywhere, be it in Art, music, architecture or even literature. And of course last but not the least, cuisine. It definitely belongs to one of my favorite cuisines. It’s the Malay cuisine which fascinated me most during my stay in Malaysia.

Malay cuisine is not only influenced by Indian, Chinese and Arabic cuisines but it also got enriched with the Japanese, Thai, Korean cuisines. It is very common in Malaysia that one cuisine is producing a exotic dish with other cuisine’s (mostly Malay) ingredients. May be their techniques are similar to their origin but the final product is very much Malaysian.

Beef Rendang Recipe

One thing I loved about their cuisine is their one-pot-meal concept. No fussiness no tricky business simple and straight single serving meal which includes few different items in it and make a complete meal. Like Nasi Lemak or Laska Lemak. I used to simply drool over them again and again. And I try to make them at my home for me and my family to relive our lovely memories in Malaysia.

No I am not making any of these one-pot-meals today. After a long time I’m in mood to experiment with my taste buds. My today’s dish is Malay Mutton Rendang or Rendang Daging. I had this long back, when I was there in Malaysia. And there is no need to mention that time I had no idea what it was. I couldn’t understand most of the names in the menu of a restaurant and i found one item mentioning ‘Mutton’. That was enough for me to make the order quick and brief. But when I had it, I can’t explain how happy I was. It had a very familiar flavor of our Indian Mutton preparations but it definitely had something which was distinguishing it from rest. That was the key of this unique preparation.

Mutton Rendang

Rending is originally a meat preparation where meat is cooked in coconut gravy with coconut flakes by following slow cooking technique. It is not a gravy or curry item though it is referred many times as a curry. Atleast which I took, had no curry at all. It was a complete dry item which was served with herb rice. There are many variations of this simple Randang: Chicken, Mutton, Eggs and even veggies are there too.

Malay Mutton Coconut Gravy Recipe

But my prince charming of the day is Malay Mutton Rendang or Rendang Daging.

Ingredients for marination:

Mutton: 500 gms.
Turmeric powder: ½ tsp                        
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Cumin powder: 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp
Crushed garlic: 1 tsp


Marinade the mutton with all the ingredients and keep covered overnight.

Ingredients for tempering oil:

Dried ginger: 1”
Cinnamon stick: 1”
Green cardamom: 4-5
Nutmeg: 1 pinch
Cloves: 4-5
Mace: 1
Coriander seeds: 1 tsp (I skipped this as I didn’t have them)


Make powder of cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom and nutmeg and dried ginger by using grinder and keep aside.

Ingredients for main dish:

Onion: 2 large
Garlic: 7-8 cloves
Dried red chillies: 5-6
Lemon grass: 3-4
Ginger: 1”, make a paste of it with very little water
Desiccated coconut: 1 ½ cups
Coconut milk: 1 ½ cups
Warm Water: 8-10 cups
Sugar: pinch full
Oil: 2-3 tbsp


Roughly chop onions.
Arrange chopped onions, garlic pods and dry red chilli in a blender and make a smooth puree of it. (See Tips)

Take a separate pan, heat well. Add desiccated coconut and fry on medium flame. Stir continuously. (See Tips)

Keep frying on medium flame until it becomes brown in color.

Keep aside to cool down in a separate bowl. (See Tips)

Take a large heavy bottomed pan. Heat oil in it.
Add mace, and rest of the powdered spices with pinch of sugar. Fry until fragrant.

Now add onion-garlic-chilli paste. Keep frying the paste until it is mixed well with the spices.

Add ginger paste and little crushed garlic.

Mix it with the gravy and keep frying.
When you can spot oil is oozing out near edges, understand this is the time to add your mutton.

Add mutton with 3/4th of the desiccated roasted coconut and mix well so that all the pieces get coated with the spices.

Keep it covered on simmer for 30-40 mins. (Mine took exactly 30 mins.)
After certain time you will see most of the moisture got evaporated. And oil is floating on top.

This is the time to add coconut milk.

Pour coconut milk little by little by with one hand and keep mixing with other hand. (See Tips)

Add warm water with salt and mix well. Keep it covered on simmer and let it cook. 

It will take approximately 2 hrs. to cook the meat completely.

Use a fork or toothpick to check whether the meat is done or not. My mutton was so tender that it actually parted in two pieces when I tried to check the meat. (See Tips)

If there is any gravy in the pan, cook for few more mins. on high flame to evaporate all the moisture from the pan.

Once done, remove it immediately from flame and transfer it to the serving bowls. Sprinkle rest of the desiccated coconut over the top of the mutton pieces and serve it hot/warm. 
You can use any kind of meat for this very same recipe. Only the cooking time will vary depending on your choice of meat.
It makes a good pair with Jasmine Rice, Indian Peas Pulao, Herbed Rice or even simple Steamed Rice. I made a quick Peas Pualo in microwave within 15 mins. and served it with my Mutton Rendang :)

Meat Rendang


1.  Add water as little as possible. if your paste becomes runny, it will not give the correct texture to the gravy.

2.  While roasting the coconut keep an eye on coconut as it has a tendency to burn or stick to the bottom of the pan quickly.

3.  Once coconut is roasted remove it from flame and from the pan immediately. Otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pan and will make a disaster. Remember it is the second most important item of the dish.

4.  When you are pouring the coconut milk stir continuously as it has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan.

5.  Remember, for this dish only slow cooking should be maintained. No shortcut methods will help you to achieve that particular smooth gravy with soft tender perfectly cooked juicy meat. If you use pressure cooker, your meat will be done but your gravy will not be ready. And if you don’t cook it for enough time, your gravy will be more or less done but your meat will ruin your dish.


  1. Totally love the recipe and the post. The tenderness of the Meat actually shows in the picture. Very nice. A must try dish.

    1. @Flavorsome Flavors
      please try this. this tastes unforgettable :)

  2. This looks so tempting & appealing.just one query - does coconut milk overpowers the entire dish or balances the flavor .

    1. No, coconut milk actually gives a nice balance to the entire dish. I love the crunches from the roasted coconut. You can reduce the amount of coconut if you feel so :)


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