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Beef Cheek Rendang served with white rice, sliced cucumbers and shredded red cabbage

Beef Cheek Rendang {Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker or Oven options}

gluten free, Paleo, low carb
Beef Cheek Rendang is "last meal on earth" worthy, with complex layers of flavour and delicious melt in the mouth tender beef.  There are options for pressure cooker, slow cooker or the oven.
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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Slow cooker cook time: 8 hours
Servings: 4


  • Your choice of: Electric multicooker/pressure cooker, stovetop pressure cooker, oven (using dutch oven) or slow cooker (crockpot)
  • Food processor
  • chopping board and knives
  • Grater
  • Measuring cups and knives


Rendang Paste

  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper)
  • 5 small red chillies*
  • 2 red onion
  • 8 medium garlic cloves
  • 3 teaspoons shrimp paste terasi - in a block or tub
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass white part only
  • 7 cm (3 inches) piece ginger peeled and grated
  • 3 teaspoons ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons powdered turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cooking salt

To make the Rendang

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 145g rendang paste (from above)
  • 4 makrut lime leaves** plus extra 2 leaves for garnish
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tamari sauce or gluten free soy sauce
  • 250 mL (8 oz.) full fat coconut milk
  • 1 kg (2 lb.) beef cheeks
  • 6 medium potatoes peeled
  • fine sea salt

To serve with Rendang

  • sliced cucumber
  • jasmine rice or cauliflower rice
  • shredded red cabbage
  • thinly sliced lime leaves


Make the paste

  • De-seed and dice the capsicum/bell pepper and chillies (if a less spicy paste is preferred), peel and chop the onions and peel the garlic cloves.
  • Blend all of the paste ingredients well in food processor.

Make the curry and the rice

  • Set the pressure cooker to saute - either on the stove with a stovetop pressure cooker or using the saute function on an electric pressure cooker/multicooker/Instant Pot.
    Take 145g (5 oz) of the paste, fry it off for 5 mins in the oil at medium heat.
  • The remaining paste can be frozen in 145g (5 oz) amounts for future use.
  • Trim the fat off the beef cheeks.
  • Combine the coconut milk, tamari, brown sugar and tamarind paste in a bowl. Add this mixture and the remaining ingredients for the curry to the inner bowl of your pressure cooker. Cook for 80 minutes on high pressure - use the same amount of time for a stovetop pressure cooker.
  • While the curry is cooking, prepare your jasmine rice according to packet instructions. You could also do this later, eg. when the pressure is releasing or the sauce is being reduced.
  • Once the cooking time has finished, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the potatoes and meat. Check the meat falls apart/is soft. If not, cut any large pieces and return to the pressure cooker for another 10 minutes, then remove and set aside.

Finalise the recipe

  • The sauce will need to be reduced for approximately 10 minutes on high heat/saute function until thicker - the consistency to look for is a pourable but thick liquid. To minimise splatter, use a splatter guard or leave the lid slightly ajar.
  • While the sauce is reducing, slice the cucumbers, shred the cabbage, and thinly slice the lime leaves.
  • Add the meat and potatoes back in and season with salt if required.
  • Serve with the above suggestions.


*remove the seeds if the chillies are the very small and spicy kind - I have noticed a lot of variation, even among small red chillies
**sometimes referred to as kaffir lime leaves
Equipment: pressure cooker, slow cooker or dutch oven, knives and chopping board, food processor or blender
Slow Cooker option
Please note that I haven't tested this recipe with a slow cooker, but my suggestion is the following: complete the steps up to where the paste is fried off (do this in a frypan) and then add the remaining ingredients along with the fried paste and 2 cups of water to your slow cooker bowl. The beef cheeks should be done in 6-8 hours on the high setting - they should be very soft and fall apart. Follow all the other instructions - reduce the sauce in a saucepan, it may need 20 minutes.
Oven option
Please note that I haven't tested this recipe in the oven, but my suggestion is the following: Pre-heat the oven to 160C (320F), complete the steps up to where the paste is fried off and then add the remaining ingredients to your cooking vessel, along with 2 cups of water. The beef cheeks should be done in 4 hours. Follow all the other instructions - reduce the sauce in a saucepan, it may need 20 minutes. 
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