Prep Time: 30 mins / Cook Time: 60 mins

Serves 4


  • 1kg shin beef (cut into cubes)
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 50mm long or two pieces to make that length)
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 lemongrass (cut into 125mm length and pounded)
  • 1-cup thick coconut milk
  • 1-cup water
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp (soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds)
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves (very finely sliced)
  • 6 tablespoons kerisik (toasted coconut)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar or to taste
    Salt to taste

Rempah (Spice Paste)

  • 5 shallots
  • 1-inch galangal
  • 3 lemongrass stalks (white part only)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch ginger
  • 10-12 dried chilies (seeded)


  • Cut up the spice paste ingredients and then blend them in a food processor until a paste.
  • Heat oil in a casserole dish or stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and gently stir-fry them until aromatic.
  • Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for about a minute.
  • Add the coconut milk, water, tamarind juice, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently for 15 minutes.
  • Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), and palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.
  • Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 – 2 hours or until the meat is very tender and the sauce has reduced by half.
  • If you prefer a creamier rending add ½ a cup of coconut cream.
  • Add salt to taste. Serve immediately with steamed rice.