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Beef Rendang

beef rendang
beef rendang

A lot of famous dishes get bastardized when they travel, but sometimes the kid turns out alright. Here’s an easy take on an Indonesian classic that comes from an Italian friend who lived in Bali and has been adapted by a Brazilian woman (Ana Penteado) – and the result is a healthier version thanks to a few tweaks here and there.  It’s packed full of vitamin C, antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories. It’s a great recovery food for colds and flus, it cleans airways, plus it’s delicious and makes your home smell très exotique.

Time = 30 min. prep, 60-90 min. cooking

Difficulty = a doddle (fairly easy)

(the shopping is more challenging than the cooking!)

Result = a pungent, tasty dish that will take everyone back to Bali.


Put all this in a blender:

  • 4 small onions (preferably. red, but bog-ordinary brown ones will do)
  • Chilli as much as you prefer (but it should be hot – at least a finger-length of fresh chilli), finely chopped
  • 1/2 bulb of peeled garlic (if you buy the crushed one in a jar, 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 small piece of ginger (a 3cm piece or if you buy the crushed one in a jar, 2 tablespoons)
  • 500g of red capsicums
  • ¼ teaspoon of white pepper

While that blends, put some oil (we use olive, about 1/2 tablespoon) in a pot, once it’s hot, add 500g of stewing meat (try chuck steak or gravy/shin beef – but any other meat for stews is fine). Once the meat gets a bit golden, add the blended spices, then 1 tin (400ml) of light coconut milk, then:

  • 2 lime leaves
  • 1 lemon grass stalk
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (once it’s ready, these will be removed from the pot)

Some people also add 4 pieces of candle nuts – these can be found at Asian groceries and they have a weird, waxy texture and high oil content – fairly similar to macadamias in texture.  Otherwise, you can add a handful of peanuts (not essential – the rendang will have less fat without them).

Add salt to taste and a teaspoon of sugar.
Cook at slow temperature until it gets thick. Serve it with steamed brown or basmati  rice.

Serves 2.


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