Pungent Javanese Beef (Semur Daging)

"Semur" means "braise" or "stew" with sugar, soy sauce, clove, nutmeg and pepper. Serve with hot boiled rice.

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  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) beef boneless chuck, tip or round, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind powder or pulp or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Hot cooked rice


  1. Cook and stir onion, garlic and gingerroot in oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until onion is tender; remove with slotted spoon. Add beef to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until all liquid is evaporated, and beef is brown, about 25 minutes.
  2. Stir in onion mixture and remaining ingredients except rice. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 1/2 hours. Skim off fat.
  3. Serve with rice.