Cheat Pantry Beef Rendang Sandwich

This cheat beef rendang recipe uses more easily accessible spice alternatives—probably ones you already have in your pantry.
6 servings
Wait Time
3 Hrs
Active Time
1 Hr

It’s hard to make close-to-authentic beef rendang here. For starters, we don’t always have easy access to some of its key ingredients: galangal, cardamom pods, cloves, and so on. This cheat beef rendang uses ingredient alternatives that you can easily find in your grocery (or in your pantry). We designed this recipe as a sandwich, but feel free to spoon it over rice instead.

Spice Paste

  • 7 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup whole bird’s eye chilies
  • 7 small or 3–4 medium red onions
  • ¼ cup ginger, sliced
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 3–4 tbsp coconut brown sugar
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • salt, to taste

Beef Rendang

  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1 ½ cup coconut cream
  • 750g beef chuck cubes
  • salt, to taste


  • 6 pcs mini soft baguettes
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 radish, sliced
  • cilantro or coriander, for garnish
  • lime or lemon wedges, for garnish

Combine spice paste ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Blitz until fully blended, then set aside in a bowl.


Bash lemongrass with the back of a knife to release flavor. Slice off the green part, leaving only the white part at the bottom. Set aside.


Add oil to a heavy-bottomed pan on low heat. Cook spice paste until fragrant. Add coconut cream and lemongrass. Increase heat to medium, then add beef. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer beef for 3 hours, stirring often to prevent scorching the bottom. The rendang sauce will reduce and darken in color.


After three hours, check the tenderness of the beef by poking it with a fork. It should be very soft. Season with salt, then remove from heat.


Slice baguettes in half and toast both cut sides down on a pan over medium heat. Set aside.


To assemble, place beef rendang on half of a cut sandwich. Top with carrots, radish, cucumber, and cilantro. Slice diagonally or serve as a whole, with a squeeze of lime or lemon.

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