Beef-Flavoured Vegetable Red-nang


You’re thinking: what. the hell. is this.

Well, it’s the product of an over-zealous trip to the market combined with my desperate lack of anything useful to do with my time now I’ve broken up for summer. It is simply a twist on an Indonesian curry we first tried at Canteen on Clifton Street a while back. It makes a nice change from a standard Indian curry – using some interesting new ingredients such as tamarind. Note that the beef flavouring is optional – beef stock could easily be substituted for vegetable or chicken if you prefer. This recipe is based on the Beef Rendang in the Hairy Bikers’ Great Curries book – well worth the investment – but with some substitutions and alterations because I’m cheap and didn’t have half the fancy ingredients. I can promise it still tastes amazing – and makes a great lazy lunch.

George gave it a 9/10. Can’t argue with that!

PS. The RED-nang refers to the fact it has everything red in it.


2 medium red onions
3 red peppers
3 garlic cloves (+ 1 tsp paste if you have it)
50g chunk of root ginger (+ 1 tbsp paste if you have it)
1 tsp red chilli flakes
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 cube of beef stock in 300ml boiling water
1 tin of coconut milk (400ml)
1 cinnamon stick
4 kaffir lime leaves
4 curry leaves
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tamarind paste (approx equivalent to a finger-sized piece of dried – reconstituted)
1 cup of lentils (approx)
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
4 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped into 2cm cubes approx
handful of spinach
pinch salt and pepper


Slice the onions and peppers into thin strips. Fry in the sunflower oil over a medium heat until soft. Add in the garlic, ginger and pastes if you have them. Fry for another 2 minutes before adding the chilli flakes, cumin, coriander and turmeric.

Pour in the whole tin of coconut milk along with the stock. Throw in the cinnamon stick, curry and lime leaves, sugar, soy sauce and tamarind paste. Simmer whilst preparing the sweet potato. Add in the sweet potato and the lentils and simmer for around 40 minutes, or until the sweet potato is soft and the sauce is slightly thickened by the lentils.

Throw in the spinach and stir through.

Serve with whatever you fancy: rice, naan, flatbreads. It freezes well, so makes a quick, easy and satisfying lunch heated from frozen.

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