3.2/5 rating (41 votes)

Pork Rendang

Indonesian Dry Pork Curry

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 4
  • Prep 20 mins
  • Cook 1 hr
Pork Rendang

A delicate Indonesian curry cooked with coconut milk and lots of fresh Asian ingredients

Hari says

Although my main focus here is on Indian curry's I do love the freshness and zing of Southeast Asian flavours. I cook these dishes regularly at home so I thought I would share some of my favourites with you too. 

The rendang is one of the most famous and popular dishes from the east. It originates from the Minangkabau region in West Sumatra, Indonesia and is served here in most Thai and Malaysian restaurants. I love how they use the different combinations of ingredients to give a unique balance in the sweet, salt and sour flavours. The pastes are fresh and zingy and once you have the key ingredients the cooking is pretty straight forward.

Traditionally it's cooked with lamb, beef or goat but here I have used pork just because that what I had in my fridge. If you want to use different meat that is fine just substitute it in.

The rendang is more about a cooking style rather than being a name of a dish. The sauce is simmered and reduced until it clings to the meat leaving it tender and luxurious - a bit like a Indian Bhuna I guess.

If like me you love the flavours of the east like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal then you have to give this a go.

  • Ingredients
  • Method

Spice Paste

  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 bird's eye chilies
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 to 8 shallots peeled
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed galangal or ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 800-900g stewing pork neck or shoulder, cut into cubes

The rendang

  • 3 tbsp vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass white part only, bruised
  • 2 cinnamon sticks 
  • 2 pairs kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 400g coconut milk 
  • 2 tbsp tamarind extract
  • 100g desiccated coconut, toasted
  • 1 tsp fish sauce or to taste
  • 1 tsp palm sugar or to taste
  • 6 tbsp sliced spring onions


Spice Paste

  1. In an oil-free pan, toast the garlic, chilies, coriander seeds, peppercorns, shallots, turmeric and cumin seeds. Transfer to a blender, add the crushed galangal and nutmeg. Process with a couple of tablespoonfuls of water to form a paste.
  2. Place the pork in a shallow bowl. Pour in the spice paste. Mix and work the spice paste into the meat. Cover and keep for as long as possible
  3. In a dry pan toast the desiccated coconut until just golden and set to one side for later.

Cooking the Rendang

  1. Heat the cooking oil and saute the chopped onion, lemongrass and cinnamon sticks.
  2. Add the marinated pork to the hot oil and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add sliced kaffir lime leaves.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk and tamarind extract. 
  5. Add the desiccated coconut and stir.
  6. Season with fish sauce and sugar. Cover and simmer for an hour to an hour (or longer) until the pork is tender.
  7. Stir occasionally and add more fish sauce or sugar, or both, as needed.
  8. Uncover the pan. Add half of the sliced scallions. Turn up the heat and continue cooking, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan often, until the pork rendang is dry.


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