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Indonesian Coconut Beef Soup with Carrots and Sambal

Indonesian Coconut Beef Soup with Carrots and Sambal

Adapted from Gabriele Galimberti (who got it from Eti Rumiati).
Course Entree
Cuisine Indonesian
Author TheSpicedLife


For the soup:

  • 2 lbs beef chuck, seasoned with salt, browned and then cubed (browning optional but I strongly prefer)
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, cleaned and minced
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
  • 7 macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 sweet red bell pepper, chopped (or sub part or all with hot red chile peppers)
  • 1 t freshly ground white pepper
  • salt
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves
  • 4 14-oz cans of coconut milk (7 cups)
  • 3 cups good quality beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 large or 6-7 small carrots, cut into chunks

For the sambal:

  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped red onion
  • 2 hot red chile peppers, minced (we left out of the kids' portion)
  • 1/2 red sweet bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2- inch piece of ginger, cleaned and chopped
  • 7 macadamia nuts

For garnish:

  • sliced cucumber
  • sliced tomatoes (off season I prefer grape tomatoes)
  • lime wedges
  • sliced sweet bell pepper (that is my addition to round out meal)
  • cooked Jasmine rice


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
  2. I prefer browned meat--if you do too, start with salting your beef and then browning it on all sides in a tablespoon of oil. Then remove, and when cool enough, cut into cubes (or just start by cutting your beef into cubes). Set aside.
  3. Using a blender or wet dry grinder, puree half of the ginger, the garlic, red onion, macadamia nuts and bell pepper all together until they are smooth. Mix in the white pepper.
  4. In a large Dutch oven--you can use the same one you browned the meat in if you like-- heat the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the puree and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has darkened and thickened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the beef, kaffir lime leaves, the remaining ginger, coconut milk and beef stock to the cooked puree. Bring to a boil, and then cover and place in the 300 F oven.
  6. After the soup has been cooking for about 3 hours, add the carrots. If the beef seems cooked and nearly tender, add to the oven for one more hour. How long the beef takes to cook depends mostly on your cube size. The smaller the cubes, the shorter the cooking time. Either way, cook until the beef is tender.
  7. While the soup is cooking, make the sambal.
  8. Place all of the sambal ingredients into a blender or wet-dry grinder. Puree smooth. Serve on the side to add to the soup--we chose to add it when the soup was piping hot to tone down the raw garlic and onion a bit.
  9. Serve the soup with the sambal on the side as well as the chopped vegetables and some Jasmine rice. We chose to add the rice to the soup, as well as the tomatoes, but the cukes and peppers we ate raw, as an accompanying salad, which the recipe instructs you to do. We added the tomatoes to the soup because the soup in the book was pictured with tomatoes.