Rendang originated from the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra in Indonesia, who cooked it with water buffalo – an important animal in Minangkabau culture – not chicken or beef for which the dish is probably best known. The meat of the water buffalo is tough, sinewy and perfectly suited to the long cooking time required for rendang. In fact, the word rendang itself comes from merendang, which means slow cooking. Traditionally, the dish is cooked for between three and seven hours over a low heat on a wood fire.
Really lovely piece on the origins of rendang. Hat tip Erin Cook!