Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Semur Daging

In my never-ending quest to experience all things Indonesian, last night I followed a friend's advise and made my first Semur.   Salmah, a Facebook friend from Indonesia, and I got into a discussion about Indonesian food yesterday, much to my delight.  She mentioned a few favorites which sent me running for my copy of Southeast Asian Food, a compendium of dishes from the area (and my bible for southeast Asian cooking) by Rosemary Brissenden, to look for something called semur.   The book only offers two recipes for this Javanese stew.  (I am not really complaining as the very thick edition covers quite a lot of area--both culinary and geographically--making it impossible to include every single recipe for every single dish in every single region.  Still, I do wish someone would come out with a more complete book for just Indonesia.)                                                               Having a freezer bag of Korean-style beef short ribs in the freezer, I opted for the Semur Daging and was pleased with the result.  However, the next time around, I will be using the slow cooker.  (The recipe calls for simmering, covered, for and hour and the adding quartered potatoes which take another half hour to forty-five minutes.  This makes it tender enough but I think letting it go for several hours in the slow cooker would result in a more tender melt-in-your-mouth meat.)
Whichever way you want to prepare this, here is the recipe for Semur Daging, a wonderful Indonesian beef stew which you will want to serve with rice.  (Never mind that the stew already includes potatoes!)

Semur Daging (Beef Stew)

1 tablespoon oil
2 pounds stewing beef, cubed.  Or beef short ribs
3 tablespoons kecap manis (available in Asian markets) or 2 tablespoons dark soy and 1 tablespoon palm or         dark brown sugar.
1 slice ginger root, bruised
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 small stick cinnamon
Salt to taste
3 small potatoes, quartered
1 tomato, cut into 8 wedges
Fresh lime juice to taste
2 red chilies, sliced

Spice Paste

3 cloves garlic
5 shallots, sliced
Pinch black pepper

Grind the Spice Paste ingredients into a fine paste.  Heat the oil in a pan and fry the Spice Paste until fragrant and add the meat, stirring to coat with the fried paste, and cook until the meat changes color.  Add the kecap manis, enough water to cover, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.  Cover and simmer for one hour.  Add the potatoes, cover and simmer until they are done.  Add the tomato, like juice and more water if needed.  Serve garnished with chilies.