Pic of Beef and butternut squash rending

Beef and butternut squash rending

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Meat mains

Beef and butternut squash rending

Main Serves 5 2h 30 min
This is an unusual dish in that it starts off slow and wet and is finished off in a frying pan over a medium heat to produce a sort of dry curry. In Sumatra it is made from ropey old bits of water buffalo. As it cooks the coconut milk evaporates leaving the oil which is absorbed into the meat. The sourness of tamarind and lemongrass provide the perfect foil for the sweetness of butternut squash and coconut. Serve with plain boiled or steamed rice and seasonal greens. The leftovers are even more mouthwatering re-heated the next day.


  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, tough tops discarded, peeled and shredded
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 650g diced beef
  • 800ml coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 700g butternut squash, peeled and diced


Prep time: 20 min
Cooking time: 2h 10 min
  • Step 1

    Put the chilli, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, tamarind and onions into a blender and whizz to a paste. Spoon into a saucepan and mix with the meat.
  • Step 2

    Pour over the coconut milk, stir in the turmeric, add the bay leaves and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Step 3

    Add the butternut squash and a touch of salt; go easy though as much of the liquid will evaporate leaving a reduced, savoury sauce anyway.
  • Step 4

    Simmer for another hour, transfer to a heavy – bottomed pan, increase the heat a little and cook for another 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently. It's done when the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce and the meat and squash are almost falling apart.

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