Spicy Beef Stew

  • images/show_03_spicy_beef_stew.jpg

Makes 4 servings

Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this warming beef stew is a classic recipe enjoyed with fresh baguettes, noodles or steamed rice. Variations of this stew contain crushed tomatoes or curry powder, Chinese five-spice powder or annatto seeds for that deep rich orange-red color and savory flavor.

  • 2 pounds beef shank
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, halved lengthwise
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/4 cup minced galangal
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons spice mix*
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 jicama (about 1 pound), cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 lotus root (about 6-inches long), cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup lotus seeds
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon annatto seed oil* (see Note)


  • Mint sprigs
  • 1 small fresh red chili, thinly sliced
  • Thai basil sprigs
  • Cilantro sprigs


  1. In a large pot, combine beef shank, beef stock, water, lemongrass and onion; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook for 20 minutes. Remove beef and cut into 1-inch chunks; set aside. Strain stock and reserve.
  2. In another large pot, heat cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger and shallots; cook for 2 minutes. Add galangal; cook for 1 minute. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until mixture forms a paste, about 1 minute. Add spice mix and cayenne; stir to form a dry paste. Add beef and strained stock; stir well.
  3. Add hoisin sauce, tomato paste and water; stir. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add star anise, cinnamon stick, jicama and lotus root; cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Add lotus seeds and carrot; cover and continue to cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Add sugar; cook for 5 minutes. Just before serving, add annatto seed oil; mix well.
  7. Ladle stew into a serving bowl; serve with garnishes. Enjoy hot with steamed rice, fresh baguettes or hot noodles.