Beef Slow-Cooked in Coconut Milk with Spices

  • Serves

    serves 6-8


Ibu Rohati, the Indonesian housewife and excellent cook who shared this recipe with us, recommended using well-marbled chuck for this dish.


  • 5 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (2") piece fresh or frozen and thawed galangal, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (2") piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (1/2") piece fresh or frozen and thawed turmeric, peeled and chopped
  • 3 shelled candlenuts, chopped
  • Half nutmeg seed, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 lb. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 1⁄2" pieces
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 12 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 fresh curry leaves


Step 1

Crush together shallots, garlic, galangal, ginger, turmeric, candlenuts, nutmeg, and salt to taste with a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste and transfer to a large bowl. Add meat, mix well, and set aside to marinate for 1 hour. Bruise lemongrass with dull side of cleaver or large kitchen knife, tie each stalk into a knot, and set aside.

Step 2

Bring coconut milk to a simmer in a wok or medium wide pot over medium heat. Add meat and marinade, lime and curry leaves, and lemongrass and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces to a thick paste and beef begins to fry, about 2 hours. Continue cooking, gently stirring often, until meat browns, about 30 minutes more. Remove lime and curry leaves and lemongrass just before serving. Serve at room temperature, with Steamed White Rice, if you like.

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