Beef slow cooked in coconut milk and spices


  • 3/8 pound shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 15 dried red chili peppers
  • 5 slices fresh ginger root
  • 5 lemon grass, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 2/3 cups coconut milk
  • 7/8 cup water
  • salt to taste


  • Heat the coconut in a dry wok, stirring continuously until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  • Using a blender or a food processor, blend the shallots, garlic, chilies, ginger, and lemon grass to a thick paste.
  • Grind the coriander, fennel, cumin and nutmeg.
  • Using the wok, fry the shallot paste in a little oil for a few minutes.
  • Add the ground coriander, fennel, cumin and nutmeg; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring continuously.
  • Add beef; cook over a medium heat for a further 3 to 4 minutes, or until meat is browned.
  • Stir in sugar, coconut, cloves, cinnamon stick, coconut milk, and water.
  • Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until most of the liquid has gone and the meat is tender (about 1 hour).
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Serve hot over rice.


Photo by Honora Cargile, Indonesia Peace Corps Volunteer 2018-2019

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