Semur Daging

Flea market treasures – Semur Daging

I can be an incredibly cheap person at times. Which is probably why I absolutely love flea markets. It’s like a treasure hunt! Except you don’t know what you’re looking for, so it’s always a pleasant surprise. It was at a flea market that I chanced about a cookbook on Indonesian cuisine. Actually, the seller had the entire collection of the series. I was so very tempted to buy them all, alas, I knew I didn’t have the space to house 10 new cookbooks and I wasn’t particularly in the mood for a lecture on impulse buying from my husband.

Semur Daging
Yes, I do eat like a pig

So I settled for just one. And I must report that I am quite pleased with it. You all know my Dad is Indonesian-Chinese, so I have a penchant for Indonesian food. But I have to say, I find Indonesian cuisine one of the hardest to master. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy and they use so many different spices.  Maybe it’s because they use so many different spices, it’s often hard to find the balance and get the taste right. Maybe it’s just me.

One ingredient that you’ll find showing its face a lot in Indonesian cooking is tamarind. Traditionally, you buy a pack of tamarind paste, seeds and all, and you mix it with water before running it through a sieve to get a juice of sorts. But I’m lazy (like you don’t already know that) and I used to avoid dishes that used tamarind just because I didn’t want to bother with this process. I’ve since discovered a wonderful product that allowed me to skip this step. Now, I know tamarind concentrates have been around for a while but this isn’t a concentrate (I’ve never figured out how to use tamarind concentrates).  I just use this 1:1 in any recipe that calls for tamarind and I haven’t had a complaint since.

No, they're not paying me to say good things about them. Sadly.
No, they’re not paying me to say good things about them. Sadly.

This was the first dish I picked out to try and I’ve since made it several times, with tiny adjustments. It’s a very flavourful and aromatic dish. The flavour is very intense so it pairs with steamed white rice brilliantly. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.

Semur Daging

Semur Daging (Indonesian Braised Beef)

Adapted from Küchen Der Welt: Indonesien

  • 750g beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • fresh ginger, the size of a thumb, grated
  • 1 chilli, left whole
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp palm sugar
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Mix tamarind paste with 300ml of water.  Set aside. Run it through a sieve if you’re using regular tamarind paste.
  • Heat 3-4 Tbsp of oil in a wok on high. Add garlic, ginger and chilli to the wok and sauté till fragrant but not burnt, about 30 seconds to a min.
  • Add beef in batches and cook till nice and brown.
  • Deglaze with the tamarind-water mixture, add all remaining ingredients and simmer with the lid on, on low heat for 1 – 1½ hour.
  • Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium. Continue to simmer until sauce is almost cooked off.
  • Serve with steamed white rice.

7 thoughts on “Flea market treasures – Semur Daging

  1. Wow, this looks darn good! My hubby will like. Tamarind is such a special ingredient–glad to find a recipe that makes it so easy to use. The photos are beautiful, and the fourth one is my fav! =)


    1. Thank you! The fourth one is my fav too. I need to find more recipes to experiment with tamarind some more. Like Assam fish head curry. But I’m not sure I can find a fish head here in Switzerland. Haha!


  2. Nice write-up. I’m a massive fan of Rendang (I’m nutty about coconut!) but will give this recipe a go next time. Plus it seems simpler. The dish looks SCRUMPTIOUS!

    I’m glad you found the Thai tamarind paste. I discovered it a few years ago by chance in a Thai shop and now can’t live without it. Mind you, I also like and often use the tamarind concentrate one gets in Indian shops.


    1. I love a good Rendang myself. Have you ever tried Opor Ayam? If you like coconut, you’d love Opor Ayam. As it happens, I just came back from an Asia trip where I got to watch how it’s cooked so I’ll write a post about that one day……someday.

      So glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you’ll enjoy the dish as much, if not more 😉 Let me know how it turns out.


      1. Opor Ayam, now that brings back memories! I had the wonderful fortune to date a lovely Indonesian girl a while back and got to discover superb dishes, of which Opor Ayam was one. Yes please share the recipe!

        I partied a bit too hard this weekend so didn’t have the energy to cook. Hopefully I’ll get to the Semur Daging soon.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s