Making this delicious Indonesian classic Beef Rendang in the instant pot is a breeze. Beef chunks flavored with freshly made spice paste are cooked until tender in the pressure cooker then simmered in coconut milk resulting in a caramelized, rich and tasty meat dish! Seriously, the best beef curry ever – Beef Rendang.
In a food processor or mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, onions or shallots, galangal (or extra ginger) and chili to a smooth paste. Add the ground coriander and cumin and mix well. Set aside.
Choose the saute setting in the instant pot. Heat the oil and briefly saute the lemon grass, ginger and kaffir lime leaves until aromatic. Add the spice paste and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until it darkens in color and begins to bubble as it releases some oil.
Add the beef and coat with the spices. Add the water and sugar and mix everything well to deglaze the pan and remove the brown bits at the bottom. Turn off the sauté mode and cover the pot, putting the valve in the sealed position. Put in manual high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow a natural release for 15 minutes.
Uncover then pour in the coconut milk. Saute and cook, stirring occasionally so beef doesn't stick to the bottom, for 15 minutes or until the sauce has browned or caramelized in color and has thickened (the dish would release some oil at this point, too). Taste and adjust seasoning with a little fish sauce (yum!) or soy sauce. Add a little squeeze of lemon or lime juice as well, if desired, especially if kaffir lime leaves are replaced with bay leaves. You can leave a little bit of sauce to drizzle on your rice or allow the beef to fully dry up and fry in its own oil, it's your choice. Serve with rice or crusty bread.
If you cannot find galangal (may be bought fresh or frozen at Asian stores), simply double the ginger. Galangal is citrusy in flavor and aroma so it's different from ginger but the latter may be substituted, if needed or desired.
If you cannot find kaffir lime leaves (available at Asian stores) you may replace with bay leaves. To add some lemony notes to the dish (if you don't have the galangal and kaffir lime leaves which give beef rendang its characteristic citrusy flavor) simply add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice at the end of cooking.