Semur Daging (Javanese Beef Stew)

1 lb of beef for stew
4 medium-size potatoes
1/4 cup of butter
4 shallots thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
4 bay leaves
4 Tbsp sweet soy sauce
4 cups of water
2 large carrots peeled and cut into big chunks
2 large tomatoes quartered
Salt to taste
Cellophane noodles – optional

Fried shallot crisp
Small bunch Chinese celery leaves finely chopped
Sweet soy sauce for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and cut the potatoes into large cubes. Soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes. Drain off the water and pat them dry. Drizzle with cooking oil and season with a bit of salt and use your hands to toss and make sure potatoes are coated with oil and salt. Place on a aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown and cooked through.

In a meantime, melt some butter in a pot and add in shallots, garlic, nutmeg and bay leaves. Stir fry until fragrant. Add the beef and 4 Tbsp of sweet soy sauce to the pot and let them brown a little bit for about 10 minutes. Pour in the water and bring to a boil and lower the heat and slowly simmer for about 1 hour until the meat is tender. Add in the carrots and tomatoes after 30 minutes of cooking and add the fried potatoes in 10 minutes before the end of cooking. Gently stir everything to mix. Have a taste and season with salt if needed. It should be slightly sweet from the sweet soy sauce.

If using cellophane noodles, blanch the cellophane noodles in boiling water, it just take few seconds to soften. Portion into individual bowl and portion out the beef and potatoes over each bowl. Laddle the hot broth over the noodles. Garnish with fried shallot crisp and celery leaves. Drizzle with some kecap manis and you are good to go. Or just serve this with rice on the side.

Traditionally, this dish used deep-fried potatoes. You can deep fry the potatoes or just add the potatoes and carrots in 30 minutes before end of cooking time. Roasting or deep-frying the potatoes first sure makes it taste even better.

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