Spicy Balinese Beef

Origin: Bali Island


  • 500 gr beef, thinly sliced
  • 1 pc tomato, roughly chopped
  • 2 cm galangale, thinly sliced or bruished
  • 1 stem lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, cut in two, crashed or bruished
  • 3 pc kaffir lime leaves, roughly cut
  • 2 pc salam or bay leaves
  • 500 ml hot water
  • 1 tsp tamarind pulp soak in 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp Indonesian sweet soya sauce / Kecap Manis
  • salt to taste
  • sugar to taste
  • oil

Spice for the paste

  • 8 pc shallots, chopped
  • 3 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 7 pc large red chillies, de-seeded, chopped
  • 5 pc candlenuts, roughly chopped or crashed
  • 2 cm fresh ginger
  • ¼ tsp roasted dried shrimp paste / terasi (optional)

Balinese Spicy Beef

Honestly I do not know for sure whether this recipe actually comes from Bali Island or not. In fact this dish is very popular in Java, particularly in eastern regions. This side dish seemed to be a mandatory recipe for selamatan or communal feast. Selamatan can be given to celebrate almost any occasions, including birth, marriage, death, moving house, and so forth.
As I've experienced in my hometown, when my parents and all my neighbours have the above mentioned occasions, they will send us Nasi Takir or Nasi Berkat (Blessed Rice). It used to be a banana-leaf container, stuffed with rice & many side dishes. The side dishes are generally consisted of: Mie Goreng, Sambal Goreng Kentang Hati, Kering Tempe and Daging/Ayam/Telurr Bumbu Bali.
I've memorized this recipe by heart because as I remember in my childhood time, my brothers and I often compete & fight over the "Nasi Berkat". Who were fast enough will be awarded of course with "Daging Bumbu Bali" ha ha ;-).
Note: Instead with beef you can prepare the dish with chicken or boiled eggs.


  • Cut or slice the beef into a thinly rectangular shapes.
  • Blend all ingredients for the spice paste in a blender or food processor until smooth. (If necessery add a little bit oil to help the blending process).
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok or shallow pan. (Don't add oil if already added in a blender). Stir fry the paste, lemon grass, galangale, kaffir-lime leaf and bay leaf. Stirring all the time until well cooked & fragrant. (approx. 10 minutes)
  • Add the beef & chopped tomato. Stir and cook until the beef colour turns to white.
  • Add the hot water *** & adjust into medium heat. Simmer for approx 20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the beef is well cooked. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the tamarind water & kecap manis, stir to mix. Adjust the seasoning, add salt & sugar to taste. Serve hot.


  • *** Add the boiled /hot water into the meat then cook on the medium heat to preserve it's best taste.
  • You may cook this dish one day in advance, store in the fridge (keep the leaves with). It lets the flavors absorbed perfectly and tastes more delicious.
Keyword Bali, beef, candlenuts, Indonesian, Kecap Manis, red chillies, shallots, spicy

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