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Last updated: Oct 15, 2015 — Published: Oct 15, 2015 — By: Anita — 18 comments

Tender, juicy, fall apart beef that is covered in a rich gravy full of spices. This is an Indonesian celebratory dish that you will want to eat again and again.

Lapis daging is an Indonesian braised beef dish in spices and sweet soy sauce (kecap manis). This melt-in-your-mouth and bursting with flavor beef dish originates from Surabaya, the capital city of East Java province, and is commonly present in part of a Javanese celebratory dish. Personally, this yummy dish is part of my meal rotation, so it is definitely not something to make only when you have something to celebrate. Though, it would be nice if you are willing to go all out and plan a complete Indonesian meal if you are up for the challenge. :)

Lapis Daging - Braised Beef in Spices

Lapis Daging - Braised Beef in Spices

What do I need to prepare lapis daging?

First of all, you will need to get 500 gram (1.1 lb.) beef cuts that are best for stewing that will yield juicy and tender meat after long cooking, such as:

  • chuck
  • bone-in short rib
  • brisket
  • shanks

And then, you will also need:

  • 4 daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves), which is not the same as regular bay leaves, and is best to omit if you don’t have these
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk), best if you can use fresh ones, or double the amount listed if you are using dried leaves
  • 4 tablespoon kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoon gula Jawa (Indonesian palm sugar), you can also use Malaysian gula melaka, or Thai palm sugar, or granulated coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cup water

You will also need the following ingredients, processed into a spice paste:

  • 75 gram shallots, I usually buy Asian/Chinese shallots (about 6 pieces), but regular French shallots are also okay, in which case, please go by weight rather than by count
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri), or sub with an equal amount of macadamia nuts
  • 2 inch galangal
  • 1 lemongrass, white part only
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds/powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon white peppercorn/ground white pepper

Lapis Daging - Braised Beef in Spices

Lapis Daging - Braised Beef in Spices

How do I cook lapis daging?

Here is the step-by-step:

  1. Heat oil in a wok on high heat and fry spice space until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add daun salam and kaffir lime leaves, mix well.
  2. Add beef slices into the wok, mix, reduce the heat to medium, and stir until the meat is no longer pink and the juices become somewhat dry.
  3. Add water to the wok and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, and continue cooking until all the water is gone. This should take about 2 hours, and the meat should be tender. Note: If the meat is still tough, add 1 cup of water, and cook again until the meat is tender. Repeat this step as many time as needed until the meat is tender.
  4. Add kecap manis, salt, palm sugar, and tamarind paste. Mix, and cook until the sauce thickens and glazes the meat.
  5. Turn off heat and serve warm or at room temperature.

If you have the patience, it is best to let lapis daging rest a while as the taste actually develops and improves as it ages. When I make this, I try to serve this the next day instead of the day it is cooked.

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating

Lapis daging is a dish that keeps really well for quite some time in the fridge.

  • You can store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • For longer storage, freeze them in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • From the frozen state, it is best to thaw them completely in the fridge first before reheating.
  • To reheat, the easiest way is to microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

What to serve with lapis daging?

Lapis daging is usually part of a celebratory Javanese meal. It is commonly present in either a nasi tumpeng package, or a nasi berkat package. Either way, I suggest serving lapis daging with these dishes:

  • nasi kuning - turmeric rice or nasi gurih - coconut milk rice
  • mi goreng - fried noodles
  • ayam ungkep - fried chicken
  • sambal goreng kentang ati - potatoes and chicken livers in spicy chili sauce
  • telur bumbu bali - eggs in Balinese sauce
  • kering tempe - fried tempeh with sweet and spicy glace
  • lalap sambal terasi
  • acar

Lapis Daging - Braised Beef in Spices

5.0 from 11 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories: Main Dish

Cuisine: Indonesian

Ingredients: Beef

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Total Time: 2 hours 45 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 4 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
  • 500 gram (1.1 lb) beef stew cuts (e.g. chuck, bone-in short rib, brisket, shanks), thinly sliced
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
  • 2 tablespoon tamarind paste (Indonesian: air asam Jawa tebal)
  • 6 asian shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah), about 75 gram
  • 5 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 4 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
  • 2 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
  • 1 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), white part only
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (Indonesian: biji ketumbar)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (Indonesian: bubuk kunyit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns (Indonesian: merica putih butiran)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a wok on high heat and fry spice space until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add daun salam and kaffir lime leaves, mix well.
  2. Add beef slices into the wok, mix, reduce the heat to medium, and stir until the meat is no longer pink and the juices become somewhat dry.
  3. Add water to the wok and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, and continue cooking until all the water is gone. This should take about 2 hours, and the meat should be tender. (*)
  4. Add kecap manis, salt, palm sugar, and tamarind paste. Mix, and cook until the sauce thickens and glazes the meat.
  5. Turn off heat and serve warm or at room temperature with steamed white rice.

Notes

  • (*) If the meat is still tough, add 1 cup of water, and cook again until the meat become tender. Repeat this as many time as necessary until the meat is tender.