You are probably thinking “WTF…ASIAN FUSION BEEF STEW??!!” Yeah, I know. And I’m not talking about “American” style 1960’s circa beef stew with all that thick gravy your mother or grandmother made from store bought gravy pouch. No no no… Im talking about the kind of beef stew you would have seen in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. The broth is more clear and flavorful and more appealing to the eye if you ask me. Beef stew ranges in flavor and ingredients. Some people like potatoes, carrots and peas. Some like mostly meat and broth with very little vegetables.
As you can see in my photo I have few ingredients. Its mainly the beef, green beans, onions, garlic, spices and if you are wondering what you are looking at is possibly baby bok-choy, then you are right! This is where some Asian Fusion comes in. This dish is made in my house quite often. My mom, who is the Filipino side of me, has made many dishes where she “fuses” her asian style of cooking with foods that my Albanian father liked to eat. Most of the time her dishes comes out wonderful and this recipe is one of them. I, however, have changed a few things to my particular liking.
When my mother was a child in the Philippines, they didn’t have access to a ton of fresh beef. Due to high prices of beef in the Philippines back then, it was a delightful treat when they were able to make a dish with fresh beef as an ingredient. So, when they made the these dishes it had very little beef actually in it. I think this mentality just stayed with my mom because when she cooks this dish, most of the time there isn’t a whole lot of meat. When I cook it, I make sure to pile the beef in and since the dish isn’t heavy with potatoes, carrots, celery and thick gravy, I like to have a hearty amount of meat in the dish.
This dish has some simple ingredients: Beef. I like to use crosscut beef ribs (bone in) along with some boneless beef ribs. Bones are important in this dish. I don’t have any bone in the picture because I used femur bone and they were too huge to place in the bowl and used them just for the flavor in the stew. I also like to use any cuts of meat that have some marbling or that is normally a tougher cut since simmering this dish will break down the fat and muscle to make it tender.
For the asian fusion part, the secret of this dish is the soy sauce and patis (fish sauce). Yeah I know. It’s pretty damn crazy but it makes a world of difference in flavor of this beef stew. It’s damn good! Just make sure you start with one tablespoon of soy sauce and a SPLASH of patis. Both can overwhelm the dish if you put too much.
Here is how I made this dish. Warning: I am not the best at writing a recipe. Sorry if it seems like I missed a step. Just let me know in the comments and I will correct it.
What you will need:
Note** I make this for a big family of 6. Adjust accordingly to your desired meal size. The good thing about this recipe, there is room for error and you do not need exact measurements (expect for soy sauce and patis. Do not put too much of either!) So I will do my best to give you some sort of measuring.
A big pot
3-4 lbs. cross cut beef ribs (bone in) mixed with boneless beef ribs – cubed
3-4 med sized tomatoes – quartered
4 bunches of baby bok choy rinsed and dried
1/2 lb of green beans – cleaned and halved
one large white onion – sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic – chopped
salt to taste
1 tsp. pepper
half palm full of vegeta (a seasoning used in the Balkans. If you can’t get it, it’s ok you can omit)
1 Tbs soy sauce
Splash of patis (used in asian dishes. It’s basically fish sauce)
Enough water to cover the beef
How to prepare:
Place beef and half of the chopped onions and all of the garlic in pot. Fill pot with water and salt (half a palm) until beef is just covered. You can add more later if needed. Add half of the quartered tomatoes. Set on med/high heat. When water comes to boil reduce heat to medium and let simmer. If you see foam build up on the surface from the beef boiling, just take large spoon to scoop it out.
After simmering for 30 minutes add pepper, vegeta, and rest of the tomatoes and onions. Bring to simmer for another 20 minutes then add the green beans. Simmer for about 10 more minutes and test to see if beef is tender. If not, check again after another 10 minutes. If the water has gone down too much, this is a good time to add half a cup. Do this ONLY if the water has reduced by half or more.
And peeps, when checking the beef, take a good chunk and chew it once cooled a bit. If still too chewy then let it simmer. Keep checking every 10 minutes. Also, this is a good time to taste the flavor. Does it need salt? Maybe a little more soy sauce instead of salt or even vegeta. The trick to cooking a great dish is to taste it while you are cooking it. That way you can add any seasonings needed.
Finishing the dish:
Once you have the tenderness you desire of the beef then add the baby bok choy. Only about 5 more minutes of simmer needed for the bok choy. Then your dish is done. You should barely see any remnants of tomatoes. They would have cooked down and broken up, leaving their beautiful flavor.
I like to serve this with steamed jasmine rice and my homemade bread (pictured). I will post a recipe for my yummy, yet easy-to-make homemade bread in the near future.
I apologize for the lengthy post. I have never wrote recipes before and it’s not as simple as they look! Post your favorite beef stew recipe or if you try this dish, post some pictures in the comments! I would love to see what everyone is making!