Javanese Beef Stew Semur

Semur or Javanese beef stew is also well-known in every places in Java as well as entire Indonesia. Semur is known as its black thick and tasty beef soup served with potatoes. Semur is cooked with black soybean sauce kecap and the main ingredients used are tenderloin beef, onion, onions, nutmeg and cloves. Kecap is the common ingredient used in every Javanese dishes which is here, is the most important ingredient in the process of making stews because it serves to strengthen the flavor, but it should still feels harmonious blend with other ingredients.


The History

History shows that the dish of boiled meat marinated in Indonesia it has been known since the 9th century AD. This can be seen from some of the inscriptions, and reliefs of the temples in Java that tells “Ganan, hadanan wdus prana” or buffaloes and goats served with vegetables. However, the buffalo and goat meat is the same dishes like stews are still uncertain.

Many centuries ago, Indonesia was  a hub of old world trade between east and west and Indonesia has been recognized as a rich of natural source such as spices. The exotic flavors of the spices are then become attraction for the traders and immigrants from around the world to come to ‘nusantara’ the archipelago. The traders and settlers brought their culture gradually blend in with the daily life of indigenous Indonesia at that time. Assimilation is cultural interaction then create and develop a special tradition of the archipelago, including in the culinary field. The specificity of Indonesia spice flavors combined with a variety of food processing techniques result in the creation of unique dishes such as Semur or Javanese beef stew, which existed from 1600.

Interactions between the Netherlands and Indonesia society for about 350 years long, especially in food processing also helped in developing the flavor stews. Javanese stew that in the earlier served as the main menu in the banquet of the Dutch is derived from the word ‘smoor‘ (Dutch) to ‘stew’ (language uptake). ‘Smoor‘ in Dutch means food that has simmered with tomatoes and onions in a long cook process. One of the oldest and most cookbook recipes complete document in the Dutch East Indies (the company that invade Indonesia at that time), Groot Nieuw Oost-Indisch Volledig Kookboek published in 1902, contains six recipes stew (Smoor Ajam I, Ajam Smoor II, Smoor Ajam III, Smoor Bandjar van Kip, Smoor Bantam van Kip, Solosche Smoor van Kip). This book asserts that the later pronounced smoor stew is cooking in the kitchen developed in Indonesia by the Eurasian.

Todays, Javanese Beef Stew Semur become  attached to the traditions of Indonesia and served in a variety of custom events. Semur Betawi (speacial Semur in West Java) is served by people as part of a tradition that has always served in Muslim events as well as the marriage ceremony. Not only in the Betawi culture, Semur also often appeared on festive occasions in various parts of the archipelago such as Borneo and Sumatra. Of course, the flavor and appearance that are tailored to local tastes.

Javanese Beef Stew is an example of the culinary arts as a result of interaction of various ethnic groups in Indonesia then it inherited down within a given society as a part of cultural identity culinary Indonesia.



1 kg of beef tenderloin
100 g red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cm ginger, chopped
200 ml soy sauce
1250 ml of water
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
3 pieces of cloves
1 bay leaf
1 stem Serai, crushed
3 teaspoon of oil for frying

2 cm ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon granulated pepper, roasted
6 eggs pecans, toasted
1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tablespoon fried shallots

How to make:
– Mix the meat with onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and salt.
– Cook in a covered pan until the meat out of water.
– Add water and other flavoring ingredients, boil for about 35 minutes until the meat soft and tender. Drain the meat.
– Heat the oil. Fry the meat for about 3 minutes until brown-colored. Drain the meat and leave it cool. Then slice the meat crosswise l cm, set aside.
– Heat the oil. Fry the spices for about 2 minutes. Add some water from the remaining boiled stock beef, add water if necessary.
– Enter the boiled meat and seasoning, and cook until sauce tick.
– Sprinkle with fried shallots. And serve.

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