Though I’ve never been to Bali, the beauty of cooking is that you can travel wherever you want to go without ever leaving your kitchen. So since I felt like bringing a little bit of Bali to Baltimore, I pulled out my trusty food files and found this interesting and apparently easy recipe for Bali-style braised beef.
The predominant taste here is ketjap manis a sweet, molasses like soy sauce made by boiling down 2 cups of dark soy with 2 star anise pods and 2 tablespoons white or dark brown sugar. Or if you’re lucky enough to have a well-stocked Asian store in your neighborhood, like I do, you can just buy a bottle. And don’t be afraid of new ingredients! Embrace them, and over time, they will become part of your culinary repetoire. This recipe has just become a part of mine.
Braised Bali-Style Beef
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. minced and peeled fresh ginger
8 fresh red chilies, seeded and minced
2 Tsp. shrimp paste
3 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/4 cup ketjap manis
1 star anise pod
juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste
1.) In a carbon steel wok, heat the oil over high heat until smoking. Add the garlic, ginger, chilies and shrimp paste. Cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
2.) Add the beef and toss to coat well, then add the ketjap manis, star anise, and enough water to just cover the meat. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the meat is tender. Add more water during the cooking if the dish appears too dry, at the end there should be only enough sauce to coat the meat.
3.) Stir in the lemon juice, season with salt to taste and serve.