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Slow cooked Beef Rendang with Rich Masala Sauce

As featured on my Podcast.

I love to play with fusion with my cooking in my Wood Fired Oven. If you like Indonesian Rendang Beef Curry - and Chicken Tikka Masala (as featured on my podcast) - you really should try this.

During 2022, I experimented with a number of dishes for Season 2 of the Wood Fired Oven podcast. This dish is a fusion of a traditional slow cooked dry beef curry, with a Scottish invention - the Masala sauce, typically used with Chicken Tikka Masala. After a few tweaks and some creative licence - this is the result. It's amazing - and you definitely should try it.

Serves 8-10

Wood Fired Oven
Medium - heat up to about 180 - 250 Deg C

(Make a large batch as the flavours definitely improve with time) 

Ingredients - Rendang

An Indonesian Dry Beef Curry.

  • 1 kg Beef - cut into large chunks (about 1 inch)
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 Cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tablespoon finally diced fresh ginger
  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 medium stick of cinnamon
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons chilli powder (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 3 tablespoons toasted desiccated coconut
  • 4 cups thin coconut milk (x2 cans 400mL ea)
  • 2 teaspoons salt - preferably smoked
  • 1/4 cup tamarind liquid
  • 1 cup (can 400mL)  thick coconut milk
  • 1 handful of cashew nuts - roasted in the wood fired oven

Oven Equipment

  • Large cast-iron casserole dish - for making the Rendang


Place a roughly chopped onion, garlic and 1 tablespoon ginger into a food processor and blend until it is very smooth. If it gets too thick, add a little of the thin coconut milk. Place the beef chunks and the blended paste into a food safe container and mix well. Place in fridge and cover for at least 30 minutes.

Heat up a large cast-iron casserole dish in the wood fired oven. I usually allow 30-60 minutes to heat soak the cast iron dish.

Slice up the other onion. Heat the peanut oil in the casserole dish and add the onion, ginger, cinnamon stick and cloves. After a few minutes, the onion will soften and become darker. Add the marinated beef and fry in the oil and spices until it is brown all over.

Add the rest of the ground spices, desiccated coconut, the thin coconut milk and salt. Keep stiring to avoid it sticking on the bottom of the pan. Gently boil for about 10-15 minutes. 

Place casserole dish in a cooler part of the wood fired oven and simmer slowly until the beef is very tender, but still holding its shape. Cover for the first hour or so, place the lid slightly to one side to allow the sauce to begin to evaporate.

This could take about 2 hrs. The beef should be delightfully tender and delicious around then. 

After an hour of cooking the beef, you can start preparing the Masala

Now add in the tamarind liquid. Stir and again simmer gently in the wood fired oven until the liquid has almost disappeared. Add the thick coconut milk, again stirring well. 

Return to the wood fired oven and simmer until once again the liquid has gone AND the oils separate from the remaining sauce. Remember, we are making a dry curry.

Toast the cashew nuts in the wood fired oven until golden brown. 

Serve with rice and freshly cooked naan bread - also made in the wood fired oven. Drizzle with plain greek yogurt and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Pro Tip*

Don't use store bought garam masala. Take the extra 15 minutes and make my dry roasted Garam Masala recipe - otherwise it will taste very different and not nearly as good!