Beef Semur from West Java (Daging Semur) I
This sounds just so simple: beef semur or beef stew. This number 136 from Beb Vuyk’s book is a delicious West-Javanese version. The beef is sautéed in butter not in oil. It turns into this deep dark color and is juicy and tender.
This recipe is enough for 3 people and because the beef needs a few hours to simmer and marinate it takes about 4,5 hours to make (and you can do loads of other things in the meantime ;-).
Beef semur from West-Java (Daging semur) I. Recipe #136 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch kookboek, page 144.
1/2 kg of beef (with some fat)
4 tablespoons of butter
1/4 liter of water
2 tablespoons of chopped onions
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
Mix the asem paste with salt and marinate the beef in this sauce for several hours. Wipe it dry and cut it into thick slices of about 1 centimeter in thickness. Sprinkle the slices with pepper and nutmeg. Sauté the onions in the butter until yellow, add the meat and sauté in the pan until brown. Finish the sauce with soy sauce and 2 to 3 deciliter of water (little over one cup) and simmer until the meat is tender.
I buy high quality meat. It’s organic and already pretty tender. I buy about 400 grams (Beb’s recipe is with 500 grams of meat). I keep the amount of the rest of the ingredients as in Beb’s recipe.
Nutmeg, salt and pepper
Beb seldom explains how much pepper, salt and nutmeg goes into her recipes, like in this #136. I use 2 teaspoons of nutmeg, 1 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper for my 400 grams of meat.
I make a paste with asem (tamarind) I buy in a jar at my Asian food shop. It has already been filtered and thus ready to use. I mix 1 teaspoon with warm water and the salt and marinate the beef for 1 hour.
Less quality meat needs longer.
I cut my beef into strips. It’s very tender already. I rub the slices with the nutmeg and pepper powder.
The onions are sautéed in 4 tablespoons of butter. I add the meat when my onions turn yellow. I sauté the beef for a minute or two until the pieces turn darker.
Kecap or soy sauce
The soy sauce gives the dish its dark color, beautiful. I use kecap manis, a super sweet soy sauce (Heinz ABC soy sauce).
Boiling hot water
Now I add the water. I always use hot water. Never cold. My mom always says that it’s not good for the meat. If you use cold water, It will be not as tender.
I simmer the meat until done on super low heat, without the lid on. The sauce thickens and turns into a delicious dark color.
My semur is finished after 1,5 hours. If your meat is not done yet, add some more warm water and let it simmer for another 30 minutes and check again.
I sprinkle some lemon juice on top before serving.
Creamy, sweet and tender
Beb Vuyk, best known for her Groot Indonesisch Kookboek (Great Indonesian Cook Book), was much more than a great cook. She belongs to the most important Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) writers and journalists of her time. Check this out.