Certain recipes are worth keeping old school and unchanged for generations. Like this humble and timeless Burmese beef stew recipe that hugs and comforts you just by the thought of knowing that you made it the very same way our mothers were taught by their mothers.
The cooking usually takes 2-3 hours, depending on the size and cut of the meat, but your focus and patience in the first 30 minutes will decide if the stew is going to be a make or break. After that, slowly and gently simmering away the combined forces of caramelized onions, aromatic spices, fresh marinade and well-seared meat becomes easy peasy.
Few hours later, the beef becomes tender and succulent, potatoes soft, the gravy thick and hearty and the whole stew heavenly aromatic, letting you chew less and savor more on the flavors. Start off strong, then victory and a delicious pot of beef stew is all yours to enjoy. Rice is the Juliet to the Romeo of Asian stews and curries, so heaven forbids separation of the two.
- 2 to 2.5 lbs. of beef chuck roast
- 2 tbsp. minced garlic (5 cloves)
- 2 tbsp. minced ginger (1½-inch ginger root)
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- ½ tbsp. lemon juice
- 4 tbsp. oil
- 2 cup chopped onion (1 large white onion)
- 3 red potatoes (cut each into 8 pieces)
- 6-8 pearl onions
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 three-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
- ½ tsp. ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
*Mix up all the ground spices
- Trim the fat off the beef and cut into 1½-inch cubes.
- Combine them with minced garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric powder, paprika, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Massage all the marinade in the beef.
- Let the beef marinate for at least 1 hour.
Browning the beef
- Heat oil in a pot and sauté the chopped onions till caramelized.
- Sear the beef until all the excess water is gone and the meat is evenly brown on all sides, for about 10 minutes.
Stewing the beef
- Add a cup of water, bay leaves and cinnamon stick to the pot.
- Bring the heat up to a boil, then reduce it to medium-low for slow simmer.
- Cover and stew the beef for couple of hours, adding water as necessary.
- When the beef is tender, add and cook the potatoes and pearl onions for about 20 minutes till soft.
Spicing up the stew
- After almost all the water evaporates and when you see the oil return to the surface, bring the heat up to medium-high and stir in the ground spice mix.
- Mix everything well, cover and cook more for 3 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and serve with rice on the side.
Burmese language lesson
- Amae Thar–> Beef
- Hnut -> Stew/Braise