Spiced Sweet Beef

Origin: East & Middle of Java regions


  • 500 gr beef (sirloin or minutes steak)
  • 300 ml medium thickness coconut milk
  • 2 pc salam or bay leaves
  • 3 pc kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 stem lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, bruised
  • 1 tbsp galangale, bruised and sliced
  • 5 tsp Indonesian sweet soya sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste

Spice for the paste

  • 5 pc shallots, chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 pc candlenuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds or 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin

Spiced Sweet Beef

At first glance this recipe is similar to Tempe Bacem or Spiced Sweet Tempeh, the difference is this recipe made with beef. But the taste is almost similar, a bit sweet with distinctive coriander flavor. Good for you who doesn't like spicy dishes. You can make this side dish to prepare a simple javanese "Nasi Campur" or "Mixed Rice" with Stir-Fried Chili Potato, Mie Goreng and Crackers. Have a try, hopefully this recipe add the variant of indonesian side dishes on your table 🙂
Important Note: Use only the original Indonesian sweet soy sauce or known as Kecap Manis. This sauce is thick, sweet and contains a little bit of salt. This is the simple trick to recognize it's authenticity: Just shake the bottle downside, if the sauce has a thick, almost syrupy consistency then you get it right. If it flows like water then never think a twice to even try, otherwise you will ruin the dish!


  • Cut the beef in thinly rectangular shapes. Wash & pat-dry with kithen paper if necessary. Put aside.
  • Peel off & prepare all the paste ingredients for the seasoning.
  • Put all ingredients for the paste in a blender or wet mill and blend until smooth.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok or saucepan. Saute the paste with lemon grass, galangale, kaffir-lime leaf and bay leaf.
  • Stir all the time until well cooked & fragrant (approx. 3 minutes).
  • Add the beef and stir to mix.
  • Cook until the beef becomes harder and it's colour turns white.
  • Add kecap manis & stir to mix.
  • Add coconut milk, stir to mix.
  • Cover the pan, simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes until the beef becomes tender. Stir occasionally.
  • Cook until the coconut milk is driven off and the beef and sauce becomes brown and almost dry.
Keyword beef, coconut milk, Indonesian, spicy

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