Indonesian Beef in Chinese Sauce

Called Semur Banka (say-moor bahn-kah) in Indonesia, this dish of beef cooked in dark soy sauce may be served as part of an Indonesian meal or on its own with plain boiled rice or fried fine noodles. Dark soy sauce is available at most

Oriental provision stores and tamarind may be obtained from Indian provision stores.

1 walnut-sized piece of tamarind, soaked in

4 fl. oz. water for

30 minutes, or

1 tablespoon vinegar

4 tablespoons groundnut oil

2 medium-sized onions, sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

3 cloves

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ to

2 lb. chuck steak, cut into

1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons brown sugar mixed with

1 tablespoon treacle or molasses and

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

5 fl. oz. water

With your fingertips, squeeze the tamar-ind in the water. Pour it through a strainer into a cup, pressing as much of the pulp through the strainer as possible. Discard the fibrous pods. Set the liquid aside.

In a large, deep frying-pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and fry them, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.

Add the steak and increase the heat to moderately high. Turning the steak pieces frequently, cook them for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are evenly browned.

Stir in the salt, soy sauce mixture, tamarind water or vinegar and the water. Bring the mixture to the boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer the beef for 2 to 2 hours or until it is tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately.

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