Goat Rendang – Nicer the Next Day?


I’d like to be a totally trusting sort of guy. I wish, when you promise to be here at 7:30, I could believe you, even if the last time you showed up at 8:15. I wish I could believe the Nigerian prince who emails me offering me 40% of his family fortune.  Sadly, life has made me a little wary. I don’t take much on faith. This Goat Rendang is a case in point. I have no faith that it “tastes better the next day”.  There is no proof and I doubt there ever will be. 

Saying Goat Rendang tastes better the next day gets my goat. There’s no goat to get. Why? Because we ate it all on the first sitting. It was far too tasty to keep. We’ll never know if it tastes better the next day. If I were just that bit more trusting, I’d be sitting here (with you, as you would have arrived on time), living on 40% of a Nigerian royal fortune, debating the merits of cold goat rendang.

But, life has eroded my blind faith and instead of that glorious scenario, I’m here typing this recipe not knowing if an additional 24 hours in the fridge improves the dish.

Here's how my ingredients would look from a perch in heaven.

Here’s how my ingredients would look from a perch in heaven.

Ingredients for Goat Rendang

  • 1 kilo of goat leg meat, cubed.
  • 4 or 5 banana shallots
  • 4 or 5 stalks of lemongrass
  • 5 cm or so of galangal
  • 5 cm or so of ginger
  • 3 hot chilies
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of grated, desiccated coconut
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 or 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 2 cans of good quality coconut milk
  • Half a tablespoon of palm sugar

Side note on palm sugar: If you come across a recipe calling for palm sugar, go out and buy some. You could substitute ordinary sugar and you would never know what you are missing. However, I know and you will need to trust me, without proof. 

Dry fry the desiccated coconut until it becomes a rich brown colour.

You need to move fast as the coconut will burn.

You need to move fast as the coconut will burn.

In the same pan, dry fry the cumin seeds.

This picture for those of you who think I don't give a toss.

This picture for those of you who think I don’t give a toss.

Roughly chop the shallots, ginger, galangal, chilies and garlic.

As they are going into the blender, they only need to be roughly chopped.

As they are going into the blender, they only need to be roughly chopped.

Blend or grind the cumin seeds and these aromatics into a paste. Add a little oil to a wok and fry the mixture for a few minutes. It will darken and become very aromatic. Don’t burn it.

There is a really flavoursome aroma. Very fragrant.

There is a really flavoursome aroma. Very fragrant.

Add the goat meat and stir to cover it in the paste.

The dish looks pretty awful at this stage. Stick with it.

The dish looks pretty awful at this stage. Stick with it.

Add the palm sugar and stir until the meat is well covered and starting to brown. Bash the lemongrass to bruise it. Add the lemongrass, desiccated coconut, cinnamon stick, kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk. The mixture will look at its worst.

Not the most appealing at this stage.

Not the most appealing at this stage.

The rendang will take between three and a half hours and four and a half  hours to cook from here. Bring the pot to a simmer and turn the heat down to very low. Stir. You can take a few minutes off to do something unrelated to cooking. However, you will need to return to stir the mixture every five minutes or so. This will form the pattern of  the rest of the cooking process. A good rendang can’t be rushed and it needs regular stirring. After an hour, the rendang will look like in the next photo.

An hour down and it's only light brown....

An hour down and it’s only light brown….

After another 60 minutes, the sauce is beginning to darken and thicken.

2 hours in and it's not quite as thin....

2 hours in and it’s not quite as thin….

As the rendang thickens, the oils in the meat are released. These can be spooned off, if you desire.

Four hours down, it's nice and brown....

Four hours down, it’s nice and brown….

The rendang will have filled the house with incredible aromas. When all the ‘sauce’ has evaporated and all the dry ingredients have bound to the meat, it’s time to eat. I served it with a simple turmeric rice. The flavour was delicious. The natural sweetness of the meat was accentuated by the palm sugar. This initial taste was followed by a wonderful complex coconut spiciness and finished off by a gathering chilli heat.

A squeeze of lime on the rice and a nice cold beer completed the package.

A squeeze of lime on the rice and a nice cold beer completed the package.

As I intimated above, we ate the lot. I have another kilo of goat in the freezer. If I make this again, I know we will eat it all at one sitting. We will never get to know if it tastes better the next day. It will never last that long. Now, where’s that email from the Nigerian prince?

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Latest comments
  • That is a glorious curry. Sadly I’ve eaten all the goat in our freezer, must buy some more and make this. Lxx

  • That looks delicious – perhaps you could make it a day ahead or cook double next time 😉

      • You can’t go wrong if you do that 😉

  • I have the solution. Make double the quantity, and brace yourself for fabulous rendang two days running. Or you could freeze the first lot and torture yourself by letting the other half mature in the fridge for 24 hours… G’wan now, you know it makes sense. Go and buy another kilo of goat….

  • Am I correct that this is an Indonesian dish? The chef at Sampurna in Amsterdam told me Thai is best fresh but Indonesian is better the next day. On the rare occasion I can get it, I’ve never waited around to find out.

  • Doubt I can get goat meat around here, but I love the seasoning. Serving such meat dishes the day after cooking definitely adds lots of flavor.

      • lol Thank you Conor, for your kind offer!
        Though as much as I would love to have your goat dish, I do recall that in my visit to Ireland it seemed not all the Irish were as keen about the combination of American/Israeli… 🙂
        I take comfort in my American Buffalo Tartare, which I’ve just made. … 😀

          • Thank you Conor! Same mat is set in NY whenever you’re here. 🙂
            Unfortunately the narrow mindedness is ruling everywhere, including in both my countries. At least we’re building bridges with our blogs… 🙂

  • You must have the most wonderful butcher who has access to all sorts of meats. I really enjoy reading your recipes for less popular cuts of meat. Luckily, we can get goat here in Texas as it is quite popular with our many Mexican residents, but rather than being available in general supermarkets, we have to go to specialty Mexican markets to get it. Thanks for your continued hard work to produce this blog!

  • When I first read the title of this I thought it said “Goat Rendering” and thought why heck is Conor rendering a goat, and what on earth did he do with it? I suppose the long process to cook this Goat Rendang could be considered a form of rendering. It looks delicious!

    • Me too! Me too! lol!

  • It looks stonking good.

  • Not sure about goat, but I would eat yours Conor.

  • Another great post, Conor. The only missing ingredient is salam leaves, which could be substituted by bay leaves. I wonder if, due to the spices, you can really taste the difference with beef rendang?
    What’s the yellow ingredient in the bowl next to the cinnamon? By elimination it could be the palm sugar, but it looks different and is more than half a tablespoon? Rendang was invented to store at tropical temperatures for days before refrigerators were invented, so next time make a double batch and taste it after a week 🙂

    • Turmeric root? Just eliminating . . .

      • I’ve never used more than a teaspoon of palm sugar for a kilo of meat in rendang. I love the flavor of palm sugar, so I can see why you liked it with a bit more. Your palm sugar looks very different from the dark brown Indonesian palm sugar as I know it. I’ll have to look into that!

  • 1 kilo is so little. Double it next time 😉

  • Great advice, Conor! Good curries take their time to prep and cook. Make four times the amount – and you know what to do with what is not consumed. Anyways, way back when I was taught by wonderful Brit/Indian expats cooking professionally in Australia: ‘Eha, any curry prepped is raw and inedible the first day . . . hmmm, you may serve it on the second . . . it is at its probable best on the third . . . and, if you have the guts but the palate: the fourth-day curry is mouthwatering 🙂 ! I still follow that ‘rule’ but am peagreen that I have loved rendang since I was about 20, but goat is kind’of hard to access here . . . . lucky you . . .

      • Try three honestly! I mean you are not going to keep it on the kitchen bench in the interim!! [And in Dublin it probably would not matter 🙂 !] And it will be brought to ‘the boil’ ere you eat it!! The increased depth of flavour is noticeable, I promise!!

  • Ah, the things you will never know. However, what I also know is that palm sugar does make a difference.

  • What Rosemary said. 🙂

  • Only recently have I located a source for great cuts of goat and I’ve taken advantage of my find on several occasions, Looks like I’ll be doing it again so that I can try this recipe. Better still, I may be able to answer your query since this recipe will result in far more rendang that this person can eat at one sitting. To whom shall I send my bill for services rendered?

  • Rendang is one of my favorite dishes and it is certainly better the next day after the spices have a chance to mingle. I have always made it with beef, never with goat. Something new to try.

  • Now you could have saved just a tiny bit to test that thesis, no… ? Well, seeing just how delicious this looks, I understand.

    I’ve enjoyed rendang dishes in restaurants, but this actually looks manageable enough to try at home one of these days. And no I won’t skim off the excess fat—that’s the best part. 😉

  • Having seen this, I’m tempted to never order Anything Rendang in a restaurant again. They couldn’t possibly put the work in that you do here, could they? Have you ruined non-Bofin-made Rendang for us all, Conor?!

  • If only the Nigerian prince emails were true! I just love Asian flavours and this probably wouldn’t last long at our house either. I’d have to make it just for my husband and me so there would be leftovers. With two teenagers, leftovers are a rare breed indeed.

      • I hear he is also inviting all his blogging friends to join him on said yacht…

  • I’ve had Goat Rendang a few times in the South east Asian restaurant by our place and I’m hooked.
    Have you tried making it in the slow cooker. I was thinking of prepping it in a wok and then let it simmer in the slow cooker for a few hours.
    Any thoughts?

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