Daily Cooking Quest

Lapis Daging - Braised Beef in Spices

Lapis daging is a braised beef dish in spices and sweet soy sauce. This dish originates from Surabaya, the capital city of East Java province. During Javanese celebration, people will usually prepare a feast for guests. The most famous one is nasi tumpeng, a yellow colored rice shaped in a cone, accompanied by multiple side dishes. Another popular choice is nasi berkat, traditionally this is packaged in a bamboo basket (we call it a besek) which has a portion of rice and multiple side dishes, though nowadays it is more common for people to use a carton box instead of bamboo basket for convenience sake. And a lot of time, this lapis daging is included in nasi berkat along with other items, like fried noodles, sambal goreng, egg, and acar. Lapis daging is sometimes substituted with ayam ungkep (Javanese fried chicken).

Lapis Daging - Braised Beef in Spices

Although lapis daging is served in celebrations, it doesn’t mean people don’t prepare this for daily consumption. This dish has an extremely simple cooking process, keeps really well for quite some times in the fridge (so you can make multiple batches, and freeze some portions for future consumption), and the flavor seems to get better and better as it ages.

Lapis Daging - Braised Beef in Spices

Lapis Daging - Braised Beef in Spices

5.0 from 1 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Total Time: 2 hours 45 mins

Serves: 4


  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 4 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
  • 500 gram beef (use any cut for stew), 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)
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 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)


  1. Heat oil in a wok on high heat and fry spice paste until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add bay leaves and kaffir lime leaves, mix well.
  2. Add beef slices into the wok, mix well, reduce the heat to medium, and continue stirring until the meat is no longer pink, and until the juices become somewhat dry.
  3. Add water to the wok, bring to a boil, then reduce 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 sweet soy sauce, salt, palm sugar, and tamarind paste. Mix well, 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.


  • (*) 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.


  • Steph says:

    Hi Anita, Stew cut itu apa ajah yah misalnya? Kalo di supermarket cut apa? Sengkel gitu bukan? Atau Chuck? Thanks!

    • Anita says:

      Hi Steph, kalo di Indo kita seringnya pake sengkel (beef shank). Kalo di US kadang ga ketemu, jadi suka pake beef chuck :)

  • Kelly says:

    Hi Anita, Absolutely love your page! Am salivating at every turn. I am unable to find gula jawa but have found gula Melaka (Malaysian Palm sugar). Would that be OK as a substitute? Also, would normal bay leaves be ok to use? Thanks

    • Anita says:

      Hi Kelly, glad you like the website :) Yes, Malaysian gula Melaka is pretty much the same thing as Indonesian gula Jawa, so that is the perfect substitute. On the other hand, normal bay leaves are totally different than Indonesian bay leaves, so it is safer to just omit if you can't find them, the dish will still turn out okay, don't worry :)

  • Star says:

    Hi Anita! Can you used black peppercorns instead of white peppercorns, which are harder to find for me. Thanks!

    • Anita says:

      Definitely, black peppercorns work just as well in this recipe.

  • Leah Tunggal says:

    I made this twice in the last month. My chinese Indonesian husband loves it! It's great for lunches too. I whip up an IndoMie, fry an egg ( with a bit of runny yoke and some daging lapis. My teenage boys are happy!

    • Anita says:

      Wow Leah, you make a deluxe version of Indomie. I am drooling just thinking about it.

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