Beef and vegetable stew

The Complete Asian Cookbook
Alan Benson


Quantity Ingredient
2kg oxtail, jointed
1kg beef shin on the bone, sliced
3 teaspoons salt
60ml vegetable oil
2 teaspoons annatto seeds
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g long-grain rice
70g roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
375g green beans, sliced
2 eggplants, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
2 tablespoons spring onion, thinly sliced, to garnish
2 tablespoons celery leaves, chopped, to garnish


  1. Put the oxtail and beef into a pressure cooker with just enough water to cover. Add 2 teaspoons of the salt and cook under pressure for 1 hour. Allow to cool to lukewarm, then strain the stock, reserving the meat. Put the stock in the refrigerator to chill. If no pressure cooker is available, simmer the meat in a large saucepan until almost tender.
  2. Wipe the meat with paper towel to soak up any excess moisture. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish and brown the pieces of meat, turning regularly, until brown all over — you may need to do this in batches. Remove to a plate when done.
  3. Pour the fat from the pan and heat the remaining oil over low heat. Add the annatto seeds and stir-fry over low heat for 1 minute — you may need to cover the pan as they might spit. Remove the seeds using a slotted spoon and discard. Add the onion and garlic and cook in the coloured oil until soft.
  4. Remove the top layer of fat from the chilled stock and re-heat it in a small saucepan until liquid, then stir in 2 litres hot water to combine.
  5. Put the rice in a dry frying pan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the grains are evenly coloured. When they are deep golden, allow to cool slightly, then grind to a powder in a spice grinder or food processor. Add the peanuts and continue to process to a powder.
  6. Return the meat to the pan with the onion and garlic and stir to combine, then add the water mixture and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until the meat is tender and easily pierced with a fork, but not falling off the bone. There should be enough liquid to cover the meat; if not, add more hot water. Add the rice powder, stirring until smooth. Add the beans and eggplant and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the fish sauce, to taste.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with the spring onion and celery leaves with white rice on the side. If liked, accompany this dish with extra fish sauce, soy sauce, a hot sambal sauce or (for real Filipino eating) a sauce made from equal quantities of shrimp paste and lime juice.
The Complete Asian Cookbook
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