Sunday, November 4, 2007

Beef Stew

I know there is a general impression that this is predominantly a non-veg blog, even though I try to point my fingers to the vegetarian recipes I have blogged; (Yes, please do check out the recipe gallery, you can find a lot of vegetarian recipes) unfortunately, the desserts and the cakes & cookies are not considered vegetarian either!! For the same reason, I always admire and appreciate all my fellow bloggers, who are core vegetarians, who visit my blog and drop encouraging comments each and every time I publish a post. Even when it is a non-veg delicacy, they pour words of appreciation on the little notes in the introductory section or on the presentation of the dish or share some of their experiences and sometimes wonder about the substitutions they can make to vegetarianize the recipe or simply come and drop a hello! For a change, the whole of last week, my comment section witnessed a reverse trend after posting the recipe for Potato Stew; there were enquiries asking for the meat substitute, “ …. I tried the stew and it came out well. Can I substitute chicken for the veggies next time?” and some wondered “….Shn,eshtu looks delicious ,but desperately hope those potatoes were replaced by some chicken or mutton ! ".

This is exactly the reason why I noted in my last post that generally carnivores like us don’t prefer the vegetarian version of many of the traditional Kerala delicacies though Potato Stew is an exception. Beef stew is the non-vegetarian take on the potato stew and is traditionally served with Palappam ( Kerala’s laced rice pancakes, shown in the picture) and its equivalents are chicken stew and mutton stew, delicacies a typical Keralite would die for. Cooked beef and potatoes stewed in rich coconut milk and flavored with whole spices and fresh herbs is a rich, thick and creamy dish whose first love is Palappam, at the same time ready to have a date with white bread or Idiyappam (Kerala’s string hoppers) or Chappathi (flat Indian bread).

  • ½ kg beef (Around 1 lb), cleaned and cut into small bite size pieces
  • 1 small potato
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped (around 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp + 1tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 5 + 9 Indian green chillies split open lengthwise
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp freshly crushed pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp oil, preferably coconut oil
  • 4 small ½ inch pieces of cinnamon 4 cloves
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large big onion thinly sliced
  • 1 - 1 ¼ cups thin coconut milk/Randaampaal
  • ¾ cup thick coconut milk/Thanipaal
  • Salt to taste
  • In a pressure cooker, cook beef cut into small bite size pieces, finely chopped garlic, 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger, 5 green chillies and salt & pepper powder together, until it’s cooked well and beef turns tender and soft. Note: There is no need to add water while pressure cooking the beef as the meat is moist and will produce some water while cooking but if you are scared of safety issue of pressure cooker, you may add ¼ cup of water.
  • Chop the potatoes into small pieces and microwave or boil the potato with a pinch of salt till it is cooked and when warm enough to touch, peel off the skin from the potato.
  • In a large deep bottom pan, heat oil, throw in the whole spices like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves and let it fry in oil for 30 seconds. Add the thinly sliced big onions, 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger, green chillies and 1 sprig of curry leaves and cook until they turn soft and transparent. To this add the cooked beef mix well and then add the cooked potato cubes and combine well. Add thin coconut milk and salt and let it cook covered in low heat, for around 10-15 minutes. Now add the thick coconut milk and in medium heat, bring it to a boil and immediately reduce the heat, until it reaches a creamy and thick stew consistency. Just before turning off the stove, add rest of the curry leaves for the flavour and fragrance and stir well.
  • Serve with Palappam/white bread/Idiappam/chappathi. Taste better after 2 hours from cooking.
Notes: Stew prepared in fresh coconut milk tastes better but I generally use canned coconut milk for the ease of cooking and they taste good. If you are using canned coconut milk, do add water to dilute it, even if you are preparing thick coconut milk. Also I prefer using golden big onions, rather than the red ones; it's a personal choice. The colour will be slightly different than the potato stew as we re using red meat here. You may add 1/4 - 1/2 tsp home made masala powder/garam masala towards the end , to have more flavour and smell; this is again a personal choice, depending on the taste and flavor one is looking for; at my place, we are happy with the whole spices alone, but if that is not satisfactory to you, feel free to add a pinch of homemade garam masala towards the end. Those who don't eat beef, can replace the meat with chicken and follow the same procedure.You get a better colour for Chicken stew, compared to beef stew.

My vegetarian friends, please help yourselves with Potato Stew :)

Update: You may try this dish with Paalappam.

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. Great recipe.. Perfect with Appams!! It looks real goos, sure tasted out of this world :-) Thanks for sharing it with your blogger friends.

  2. S,
    I think my blog too have that "non veg site impression", even if I post many veg recipes..! I normally cook mutton stew; though loved this..

    Lovely presentation, as usual..

  3. Hi,
    Came here through Mathew's blog. Wonderful site, delicious recipes and exceptional photographs.

    It was a torture reading the recipes and seeing the photographs. Started feeling hungry after the first post. Had to stop after a couple as the stomach stated grumbling.

    And the narration that accompanies the recipes are just brilliant and adds a personal touch.

    Great site and great food.

  4. Shn, I understand how you feel. I blog less about my non-veg food, but it doesn't mean we didn't enjoy veg!

    Now, this beef stew sounds really good. I still have ur chicken briyani on hold, too. :D

  5. i dont eat beef but i am craving appam and chicken stew now!

  6. hey deary, is it "stew-vaaram" over there at ur place now?..hee hee...

  7. hey lady, u are yet to be tagged, huh..!!! my did the world ever mis some one like u..alright watch out for something later in the coming days..will like to know more abt u , okie....

  8. I want them both appom and the stew. Stew that i can make but when ever i did appom it never is as tasy as back at home so i have given up.
    Looks delicious

  9. Vow!that's great,Shn! Beef stew & palappam are a romantic pair at any time!!And ure pics re superb as always;seeing those a ship is already sailing in my mouth:D

    It seems u won't allow me to stay away from beef for a while!hehhe....

  10. Ah, I'm a non-beef-eating non-vegetarian - that's the third kind of reader you have!

  11. I love your's and Seena's blogs, mainly for delicious non-vegetarian food you gals blog!! Don't ever stop that and start cooking vegetarian. We have plenty of vegetarians here for those!
    Stew looks scrumptious and I love those Aappams in the background too. I specially went shopping this weekend to buy a small wok (Chetty like!) to making aappams, next buy would be Puttu maker!:D
    Arvind cannot understand why I go around the town looking for certain things like mad woman but hey, that's my secret!!Haha!!

  12. I'll take to potato stew :D You got a nice shot at the stew btw, my carrots and potatoes sunk before I fished out my camera!

  13. A Real delicacy!!
    Fine recipe with pics!!

  14. Shn......The stew looks delicious....Only If it had been vegetarian...I wud have been very happy :-))) Plz post some veggie recipes also for ppl like us Mishmash :-(((

  15. Hi Mish, this stew will be gr8 with thin dosas or appams. Looks delicious.
    I'm planning to host a Non-Veg Food Blog event, so all these recipes can be resubmitted again so that more and more will be benefitted . I was sharing the same with sig too the other day. I don't think we have such an event . Do we?

  16. Hey Shn, since you love non-vegetarian recipes, its only fair that they show up here :). And they are almost always adaptable to a vegetarian version. But you know what, to me your blog never came across as the non-vegetarian blog. i have enjoyed a fair amount of veggie dishes here!

  17. Shn You are making me miss Amma's food!!!
    Anyways she makes a similar stew too..Apart from the onions, she also adds in sliced shallots (few), a pich of mustard powder and while adding the cocnut milk she stirs ina tbsp of appam batter too!
    Adore the pics!!!

  18. haha :D dont you worry.... We've def noticed all the veg recipes that u have on ur blog :). I am a veggie too! and I must say that I loved your potato stew recipe a lot!! it turned out really good.. thanx :)

  19. Beef Stew? Cool!! Thanks Mishmash - both for the recipe and the 'chicken' tip.

    Hey, check out my blog for a few desert recipes. Though its no where near yours in terms of quality, i'm trying to put up some of my fav dessert recipes ;)


    PS: tried and loved the prawn roast as well.

  20. Never had beef stew..though i would die for a mutton stew. Looks so yummy with appam !

  21. love my meat too honey, i had beef stew for lunch today was on the italian side though with some lovely ciabatta bread.
    Your stew looks gr8 !

  22. i know , being vegetarian ...choices are limited , but it wont stop me from wondering at your creativity ...i have tried your desserts, breads and other vegetarian thank you , my carnivore friend.

  23. Carnivore or not, I just enjoy being here.

  24. Mishy, Stew looks yum even though I don't eat Beef. I would substitute this for Mutton. BTW I made your Kuttanadan Shrimp too and it was a hit. Thanks

    Do you have a recipe for frill Appam? I always make it with Appampodi but would like something from scratch.

  25. Mmmmmmmmmmm...but no beef for me :D

    I blog more about veg food though in reality I love and eat non-veg much more. In fact while eating out we try to always venture to non-veg eating places because that we think is "money well spent ;-)"

    I think except for one day in a week, we eat non-veg almost on all other days.

  26. Love stews, veg or non veg. This stew sounds very similar to one that I made a while ago ( )
    Weird how mine came out brown and yours white....the use of lite coconut milk in mine was the culprit, I guess.

  27. please post the recipie of vattayappam if u know

  28. i surely dont have brian or else i wouldn't have missed ur monday post!!!!
    oh!!! this time we dont need to ask for the substitutes;) well, how abt recipe for palappam(err... i have to check if u have already posted one;) but still it shouldn't matter as my brain has gone haywire;)

  29. burp!! delicious as always..a classic kottayam breakfast for chirstmas and easter..probably if you see culinary vice the best breakfast you could possibly have..
    Beef stew reminds me of home..kandu kothi aayi.. :-(

  30. WeLL, Shn! The readers think my blog too as a non-veg one, but no, it isnt a completely a non-veg blog, i've some vegetarian recipes too which i enjoy a lot. This recipe will come handy to me in this cold season. Thanks!

  31. lovely recipe can i use chicken insted of beef

  32. I can almost smell all of those wonderful spices! And those are just large bay leaves--mine don't look like those!

  33. Fascinating! This is so not what I was thinking of when I saw the title. Beef stews in our parts are always dark brown to red-burgundy. I've bookmarked this recipe. Thanks for this new recipes.

  34. A quick question Shn. I made a braised fish in coconut milk that my cookbook calls meen pollichathu but when I googled for the recipe, I came across most of the versions cooked in banana leaf. Mine didn't cook in banana are there two versions of this recipe or am I cooking some different recipe?
    Here's ths recipe if you want to look at the ingredients:

  35. Seema, Thanks a lot :) it does taste good, a perfect breakfast for us :)

    Seena, thanks dear :) i love mutton version too :)

    Alexis, as I wrote to you, i feel really honored to have you here and get such a nice compliment from you. And you DID inspire me!

    Anh, oh this is much easier than Biryani...this wont take time at all, especially if you cook the beef in advance; stewing wont take much time. this one would suit ur palate for sure :)

    Nags, you can prepare chicken stew the same way..just replace chicken :)

    Sona, hahha, no stew vaaram, this one was prepared almost 3 months back on a special day and it was lying in my drafts :)u want to know more about me, oh myy...what i write here is all about my family and memories...not getting enough , huh ? :))))

    Happy cook,hehhe...i blame it on my electric cooking range, coconut milk and what not..:P

    Liz, can achayathees stay away from beef...impossible :)))

    Sra, ohh..i am quite familiar with this third surprises :) U can just replace chicken for beef.

    Asha, hahhaha...thats funny...but I am quite glad that u were able to find appa-chatti next puttu maker is next in the line, huh :))) thanks so much , madame :)

    Jyothsna, oh is it? i guess it must be coz stew is a bit liquidy,,if it has right thickness, it wont sink into the gravy. try my method, mext time.

    Bharathu, Thanks :)

    Sirisha, didnt you check out the vegetarian vesion of this one...??

    Rina, yeah, sounds like a good one, but i guess there should be a theme as the area is vast , u know :)

    Musical, Can I hug you??? I was sooooo happy reading your comment and finally that guilty feeling I had for not including too much of veggie stuff is all gone now. and you re one of those who used to always amaze me with ur encouraging words whenever i posted a non veg. so pls accept this virtual hug :D

    Rachel, , oh sorry dear, did nt mean to, u know that right? ur moms cooking method is quite new to me...i want to taste that once...,must be really good right

    Ramya, ohhh I am soo happy to receive such a feedback from you. Thanks for letting me know...i am really glad :)

    Macademia the nut,so happy to receive ur prompt feedback. I am really happy it worked out well for u. hope you try this one. I will surely come by ur blog, was just tied up a bit.

    Pravs, me too :P

    kate/Kajal, oh...thats a great combo...infact u can have this with bread too...:)

    Nanditha, oye...i am blushing :)

    Sunita, ohh...that was so sweet of you :)

    Reena, I am so glad my recipes are becoming ur family favs. and thanks a lot for letting me know too.. such feedbacks are always appreciated. You can substitute chicken too. By frill appam , u meant Palappam right, will surely blog that :)

    Sandeepa, substitute it with chicken tastes equally good. and the money well spent part, hehehhe thats exactly what CJJ says :))) he never orders veg food :P

    Nabeela, didnt we find the actual culprit ?:)

    Sona, will check the blog :)

    Priya, sure, i will try to include that soon. Thanks for leaving the request here.

    Sia, yeah i doubt so, as u re calling my sunday post as monday post :P

    Mathew, :( sorry! yes I agree with u completely, in my opinion this is the royal breakfast of Kerala, nothing will come close to it; my granny was from alleppey and i think thats the reason why we have a huge influence of kottayam delicacies in our kitchen. Btw, next time u think of making that carrobroccolina, u can try this one, much easier and less time consuming, not much chopping :P

    Mona, oh its perfect for such wintry days.

    Sagari, sure, it tastes good.

    Susan,i got fresh bay leaves from the local stores here and i guess size doesnt matter as long it has flavor. this one is sure to please ur palate, do give it a try.:)

    Cynthia, i understand what you are saying and thats why this dish is Kerala's signature one and delicacy to be raved about. Hope you like it :)

    Nabeela, I have tried to answer in the best possible way I can...:)


  36. Shn, i am drooling here! this is my favourite.. :)) nice photos!

  37. the only thing that i am after is ur name, dearly
    ..oops, i shud have tagged u for a whats in a name meme, forgot!!!

  38. hi shn
    though i have been reading food blogs for some time now, i just discovered your blog today! one look and i figured i was hooked. your recipes are amazing. i am very eager to try them out. i also love the way you write each recipe / post with some anecdote about it. while we are not from kerala, my husband and i love kerala and mallu food and we eat it very often. i make a good appam myself. very often we are mistaken for mallus.
    anyway am so glad to discover your blog. is there an email id where i can write to you?
    i am definitely going to be a regular here. will start a food blog of my own sometime and will let you know then...
    look forward to hearing from you. please give me an email id where i can write to you with doubts / clarifications while i try the recipes. thanks.

  39. ofcoz i will try this out..the recipie is defintely less time consuming!!

    will make a good bet if am still here for christmas..;-P

  40. Hi Shn,

    I don't always chime in about meat dishes -- perhaps cause I'm considering turning veg :) Nonetheless, this looks yummy! Never tried cooking anything in coconut milk save tofu and veggies -- the family wouldn't eat it -- but I might! ;)

    Hope you had a lovely weekend!

  41. Lissie, mine too :)

    Sona, re right...but I dont have a middle name :D

    Div,it's a nice feeling to read all those compliments, Thank You :) Nice to have you over here and yes, do let me know when you start a blog. I would really appreciate if you can drop all your doubts/clarifications here in the comment section and I promise I will try to explain things in the best possible way I know and that way it will be beneficial for others as well. so feel free to invade my comment section. I will not miss out on any of your questions. Once again , thanks a lot :)

    Mathew, go home for a vacation during X'mas time and enjoy amma's stew, cutlet and what not..and try this some other time sure X'mas celebrated at home with family is what you want than the the one at Deutscheland, even though you might be lucky to have a white X'mas there :)

    Linda, oh...I understand your can try my potato stew, hope your family likes that one :) Yes had a lovely lovely I mean, a cozy-lazy- couchy weekend :P


  42. Yes, Mishy. By frill appam I meant Paalappam. I love the frill in that:)):)). I always make it with podi. Now I am in a place where I don't get it so want to try something from scratch.

  43. Hi I tried it yesterday it was amazing everybody at my place liked it thank u soooo much :)

  44. Hi shn,
    Just one small concern If I have to make Chicken Stew out of 1KG Chicken how much tin of coconut milk shud i use (Both thick and thin) please do reply..

  45. Hi Shn,
    i have been a regular reader of ur no not a reader but a hard core fan .i am from Ernakulam. i must say i am so poor at cooking. but everyone at my hus's home is used to mouth watering dishes..and u know i feel so bad that i could not make them happy..yesterday i searched ur blog for egg curry receipe(to have with porottas and palappams) but could not find one. please post one for me..

  46. Hi,

    Amazing recipe. I tried this one last night. Came out really well. Didn't manage to get the creamy colour as in your image, mine was more whitish. The stew was a bit runny so I added a teeny bit of cornflour for a thicker consistency. Overall the taste was so nadan and delicious. Thank you.


  47. I tried this today and it tasted very yum...thanks for the recipe


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