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Indonesian Beef Stew

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 255 minutes
Servings: 8

Coconut milk, an essential ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking, is used in a broad range of dishes, from curries to soups. Before opening a can of coconut milk, shake it well to blend the milk and cream.


  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 lb. boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded or flaked dried coconut
  • 1 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • Steamed white rice for serving


Sauté the beef
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the beef and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is no longer red and the onion has softened, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the coconut, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1 tsp. pepper. Continue sautéing until the meat and coconut are browned and the spices are fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes more. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker.

Cook the stew
Add the coconut milk to the fry pan, increase the heat to high and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Bring the coconut milk to a boil, then pour it into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Finish the stew
Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Ladle the stew over steamed rice and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Slow Cooker, by Norman Kolpas (Oxmoor House, 2007).