This dish of Balinese beef strips is simple to prepare and the ingredients are inexpensive (stewing meat is a lot cheaper than loins and rounds). But when you taste the dish, you wouldn’t think it’s simple and cheap. The flavors are complex and deep (hot, spicy, a bit sweet and a bit salty) and the dish is very aromatic.
Following the traditional method of slowly braising the beef, cooking this delicious dish can take a couple of hours. But if the beef is pressure-cooked partially, you save a lot of time and precious fuel (or electricity). The trick is to pressure-cook the beef only about three-quarters of the way through so that it can be sliced without falling apart. Then, the meat can finish cooking in the sauce giving it enough time to absorb the flavors.
- 350 grams slab of boneless stewing beef pressure-cooked with 1 and 1/2 c. of water and 3 tbsps. of soy sauce for 45 minutes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2-inch piece ginger
- 2 shallots or 1 onion
- 2 bird’s eye chilis
- 1 kaffir lime leaf
- 2 tbsps vegetable cooking oil
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tamarind juice
- 2 to 3 tablespoons palm sugar (brown sugar is okay)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 bird’s eye chili finely chopped, to garnish
- sliced shallots (or onion leaves), to garnish
Cut the beef into strips about a quarter of an inch thick and three inches long.
Pound the garlic, shallots, ginger and chilis to a paste. Use a mortar and pestle, a blender or a food processor.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the paste and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the beef to the pan. Stir to coat each piece with the spice paste.
Add the kaffir lime leaf, tamarind juice, palm sugar, soy sauce and shrimp paste. Pour in the liquid in which the beef was pressure-cooked.
Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened and reduced. Taste the sauce, adjust the seasonings if needed.
Sprinkle with finely sliced chili and scallions, and serve hot.