Kecap manis is widely used in Indonesian kitchen. I have to have some kecap manis in my kitchen otherwise my husband and brother will protest. Even if I am not cooking, it will be alright if there’s some kecap manis. They can eat omelette drizzled with kecap manis and be happy.

This recipe use kecap manis as it’s main flavor source. Kecap Manis stew also known as “semur”. So, what I made is originally called “beef semur”. There also “chicken semur”, “tofu semur” and “egg semur”. Same herbs, spices, and seasoning, just different protein.

Just like most authentic Indonesian recipe, the spices and herbs used in this recipe is quite elaborate. But it’s so worth the effort. Kecap manis stew is so delicious. And it’s kids friendly too, because it’s not hot and spicy like most Indonesian food.

Basic ingredients for “semur”: kecap manis, bay leaves, lemon grass, tomato sauce, candlenut, galangal, ginger, garlic, shallot, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, and white pepper.

Since I made beef stew, I started by boiling my beef until tender. While the beef was cooking, I blend candlenut, galangal, ginger, garlic, shallot, cloves, coriander, and white pepper with some water until smooth. Then I sauté the blended seasoning until the aroma comes out.

When I think the beef almost done, I add the seasoning, bay leaves, lemon grass, cinnamon, kecap manis, and tomato sauce. Stir. And I added potato. I love potato in kecap manis stew. The potato will absorb those yummy flavor. I waited until potato cooked trough and beef super tender.

Kecap manis beef stew is ready!

This stew is better served when warm. It is savory with that unique sweetness from kecap manis. Oh.. since the flavor really affected by the kecap manis, make sure you use good quality kecap manis. Bango is my personal favorite brand.

I cooked the beef until tender so i can easily cut it with spoon. And the potato… ooo, It was so delicious. I eat it with rice and some boiled vegetables. I think it’ll also be good to serve it with some bread.

Isn’t this a delicious looking dish?

Kecap Manis Beef Stew (Beef Semur)

Kecap Manis Beef Stew (Beef Semur)


  • 500 gr beef
  • 250 gr potato, peeled cut into wedges
  • 500 ml water
  • 7 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 pcs candlenut
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 pcs keffir lime leaves
  • 2 stem lemongrass
  • 2 pcs bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 4 pcs cloves
  • 10 tbsp kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • salt to taste


  1. Cut the beef into chunks and boil until tender
  2. Meanwhile, blend together shallot, garlic, candlenut, coriander, cloves until smooth
  3. In separate pan, sauté the blended ingredients with a little oil until fragrant
  4. When beef is tender, add the blended ingredients and the rest of ingredients, stir
  5. Keep cooking with medium heat until potato cooked through
  6. Beef Semur is ready to serve