Beef curry

Beef curry

Kari sapi

Street Food Asia
4–6 As part o f a shared me al
Alan Benson

Around Jalan Lamandau, on serene, tree-lined streets filled with stunning, million-dollar homes, are some hidden street food gems. This peaceful oasis of upmarket real estate seems an unlikely destination for curry but that’s exactly what I’m on the trail of. I’ve been told about Pak Lasimin’s kari sapi (beef curry) and the very sound of it makes me want to a grab a bike and peddle the wide and quiet streets to find it. He’s known as the pioneer of this particular dish in Jakarta so locating him is, for me, like seeking the Curry Holy Grail. And then I see his stall... or rather, I see his enormous, signature clay pot, the size of a 50-litre stockpot. Inside it is a thin, almost broth-like sauce, emitting the combined smells of cumin, nutmeg, galangal, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom and star anise. And chunks of melting beef. The flavours are rounded and gentle, softened by coconut milk, and that chunky meat, fall-apart tender. Pak Lasimin’s stand occupies an intersection, and to the right and to the left of him are areas filled with plastic tables and chairs where his happy punters sit and dine. It’s an incredible place in Jakarta that you need to check out when you come.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 500g piece of beef chuck or braising steak
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 fresh bay leaves
4 fresh curry leaves
2 lemongrass stems, bruised and tied in knots
3 cardamom pods
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
250ml thick coconut milk
steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Curry paste

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 red asian shallots
8 red long chillies
6 garlic cloves
4cm piece of galangal, peeled and sliced
4cm piece of turmeric, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Place the beef chuck in a large saucepan together with 1 litre water and bring to the boil, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Drain the beef, reserving the cooking liquor, then pat dry and cut into 5 cm cubes.
  2. To make the curry paste, pound the ingredients together into a fine paste using a large mortar and pestle, or in a food processor.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the bay leaves, curry leaves, lemongrass, cardamom pods, star anise and cinnamon stick and fry for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the curry paste and stir-fry for a further 3 minutes, then pour over the reserved beef cooking liquor and bring to the boil. Add the coconut milk and the cubed beef, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, until the sauce has reduced slightly but is still quite thin and runny.
  4. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
South-East Asian
Street Food
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