Home-cooking with Alex Harper: Spiced beef braised in coconut

Today is sharing one of his favourite recipes for cooking at home Alex Harper, the executive head chef of The Great Scotland Yard Hotel in London. (You may have known him as the head chef of Harwood Arms.)

“This is my take on the recipe that I learnt from an Indonesian chef I worked with. I love to cook a big batch of it as it gets better with time. I also make the spice paste in a large batch and freeze in 100g bags to make it easier when cooking this recipe next time.”

Serves 4-6

Spiced Beef braised in Coconut

4 tbs coconut oil
2 l coconut milk
2 lemongrass bruised
1/2 cinnamon stick
1kg beef shoulder cut in 2.5cm cubes
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cardamon
2 cloves
2 turns of black pepper

Spice paste 

100g red chilli seeded
25g garlic peeled
100g shallots peeled
25g ginger
75g galangal
50g candlenut – I use peanut butter here
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp coriander seeds
20g palm sugar or honey if you can’t get
100g water
1 tsp salt

Spice paste method 

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until you get a fine paste, place into a heavy-based pan on a low heat and cookout stirring occasionally for 1 hour.

Crush all the dry spices in a pestle and mortar or a spice blender if you don’t have the pestle and mortar.

Fry the beef in the coconut oil till golden brown, add 100g of the spice paste, dry spices, coconut milk, cinnamon and lemongrass. I cook this in a slow cooker on low temperature for 4-5 hours until really tender, a similar result can be achieved on the stovetop with low heat and a lid.

Serve with rice and some raw vegetables (cut carrot, spring onion, coriander and extra chilli if you like).

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