Semur (Indonesian Stew)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 1 to 2 hours

Serves 5

Semur is one of my favorite comfort food growing up. The brown color of the stew comes from kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) caramelized and cooked for hours under low heat. My mom used to make it with chicken, and it was brown liquid gold. However as I like my food to be simple, I’m using egg, tofu and potato, but you are free to substitute them with anything you like!


Eggs, hard-boiled

White firm tofu, cubed

Potatoes, cubed

1 bay leaf

1 lemongrass

1 clove (cengkeh)

8 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)

500ml water / any kind of stock

Salt to taste

Paste base:

5 big shallots

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp coriander seeds (ketumbar), roasted

3 candlenuts (kemiri), roasted

1 tbsp vegetable oil


Fried shallots

Spring onion

Steps to make semur:

  1. Roast coriander seed until dry and candlenut until it’s released its oil. Blend until smooth.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients for the paste base and blend them together. Lightly sautee it until fragrant.
  3. Throw in lemongrass, bay leaf, clove and sweet soy sauce and sautee them for around 3 minutes and let the soy sauce to caramelize. Put some water in if it’s starting to get too dry.
  4. Add in water or stock to the paste and let it to boil.
  5. Put your vegetables and egg in and let it simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Semur taste better the longer you let it sit, so sometimes I would make this and eat it on the next day.
  6. Serve while hot with rice. Garnish with some fried shallots and spring onion.



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