Recipe: Daging Kerutuk (Malay-style Beef Curry)

This decadent, rendang-like beef curry originates from the northeastern states of Terengganu and Kelantan. Daging Kerutuk tends to be sweeter in flavour and milder in spice compared to other Malaysian curries out there. As is typical of Terengganu and Kelantanese food, coconut products like coconut milk and ‘kerisik’ (desiccated coconut) feature prominently in this curry alongside other traditional spices. Use cheaper cuts of stewing beef like feather blade, short-rib or ox cheek and cook it long and slow over the stove or in a low oven until the gravy thickens for best results!

Ingredients (serves 4 people as a shared main course)

  • 500g casserole or stewing beef (e.g. Blade, Chuck or Ox Cheek) – cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 pandan leaves – tied into a knot
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (20g) – lightly crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cardomom pods
  • 5 cm cinnamon stick
  • 300ml coconut milk
  • 200ml water
  • 35g desiccated coconut – toasted until golden brown

For the blended curry paste (rempah):

  • 5 cm length ginger (10g) – roughly chopped
  • 5 cm length galangal (10g) – roughly chopped
  • 15 dried chillies (15g) – soaked, deseeded & sliced
  • 1 medium onion (150g) – roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tbsp tamarind puree
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 10 black peppercorns


  • 1 – 2 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar (to taste)
  • Large pinch of salt (to taste)


  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves – finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut – toasted until golden brown



  1. Blend all the rempah ingredients in a food processor until it forms a smooth paste.


  1. Heat up the oil in an oven-proof casserole pot. Toast the dry whole spices (cloves, cinnamon, cardomom pods, star anise) and pandan leaves for 1 – 2 minutes until oil is fragrant. Add the blended rempah and sauté over a medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes.


  1. Add the beef to the spice paste and fry for 1 – 2 minutes until the meat is lightly browned. Next, add the coconut milk, water and lemongrass then cook in a 130C oven for 2 – 3 hours with the lid on until the beef is tender and the gravy has thickened (if the meat is tender but the gravy is still too thin, remove the beef with a slotted spoon and reduce the gravy over a medium heat on the stove until you get the desired consistency).


  1. Add toasted desiccated coconut, then season with salt and palm (or brown) sugar to taste


  1. Serve with steamed rice and garnish with shredded Kaffir lime leaves and a tablespoon of toasted desiccated coconut.