Indonesian dendeng age is ground beef cooked with plenty of spices, palm sugar, and kecap manis. This sweet and spicy beef is the perfect side for nasi gurih or steamed rice.
Dendeng age is Indonesian spiced ground beef that is super handy to have. We enjoy this easy to cook ground beef as topping for nasi gurih, though regular steamed rice can be used too. If you wish, you can even eat it with noodles or pasta. :)
What is dendeng?
Dendeng is basically Indonesian beef jerky, typically made from thinly sliced meat cooked with a mixture of spices and sugar. The most popular version of Indonesian dendeng is dendeng balado from Padang cuisine, which is super spicy as with typical Padang dishes. Dendeng age, on the other hand, originates from East Java and is mainly sweet. You can still make it a bit spicy by adding a couple of bird-eye chilies if you wish, though keeping it free of chilies means almost everyone can enjoy this dendeng. :)
What do I need to cook Indonesian dendeng age?
To make dendeng age, you will need:
- ground beef, though you can use thinly sliced beef too for a more traditional approach
- daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves), omit this if you don’t have them and don’t substitute with regular bay leaves
- kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
- palm sugar, or substitute with dark brown sugar
- coconut milk
- kaffir lime leaves
- coriander powder
- cumin powder
Once you have all the above ingredients, we can start cooking our dendeng age, like so:
- Prepare a spice paste by grinding together shallots, garlic, galangal, coriander, and cumin.
- Heat oil in a wok/frying pan over medium-high heat. Sauté spice paste and daun salam (if using) until fragrant. About 5 minutes.
- Add ground beef (or thinly sliced beef), cook until no longer pink.
- Season with kecap manis, palm sugar, salt, and tamarind juice. Mix well.
- Add coconut milk and water, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is completely absorbed by the meat and quite dry. Towards the end, you may need to stir quite often to prevent the meat from sticky to the wok/frying pan.
And our dendeng age is done!
What do I serve with dendeng age?
Dendeng age is enjoyed mainly as topping/side dish for steamed white rice, especially nasi gurih, alongside even more dishes to make a complete Indonesian rice set, such as:
- kering tempe - fried tempeh with sweet and spicy glace
- mi goreng - fried noodles
- sambal goreng ati - liver with chili sauce
- telur bumbu bali - eggs in Balinese sauce
- sambal bajak - chili relish
Most people prepare dendeng age ahead of time and let it age for 2-3 days since the flavor improves with time. I usually store my dendeng age in an airtight container in the fridge and simply reheat the amount that I wish to eat with my steamed rice as needed.
Dendeng Age - Spiced Ground Beef
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 2 salam leaves (Indonesian: Indonesian bay leaves), omit if you don't have these
- 1 lb (450 gram) ground beef, or thinly sliced beef
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa), or dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- tamarind juice (from 1/2 tablespoon tamarind + 1 1/2 tablespoon hot water), mix, massage, and strained
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk), remove the ribs and cut into thin slivers
- Grind the following into spice paste
- 75 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas), bruised
- 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder (Indonesian: bubuk ketumbar)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (Indonesian: bubuk jinten)
- Heat oil in a wok/frying pan on medium-high heat, sauté spice paste and salam leaves until fragrant. About 5 minutes.
- Add ground beef, cook until no longer pink.
- Season with sweet soy sauce, palm sugar, salt, and tamarind juice. Mix well.
- Pour in the coconut milk and water. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all the sauce has been absorbed by the meat. Stir occasionally to prevent the meat from sticking to the wok/pan.
- Add kaffir lime leaves slivers and toss to mix. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving plate. Set aside to cool.
- Dendeng age is usually served warm or at room temperature. It is best if you can let this age for 2-3 days to let the flavor develops. Simply store the cooled dendeng in an airtight container in the fridge, and reheat the amount you wish to eat as needed.