Thai Beef Stew เนื้อตุ๋น

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A flavourful beef stew that won’t leave you feeling heavy at the end of the meal! The super tender beef is stewed in a broth infused with lots of herbs and spices. You’ll learn about my favourite cut of beef for stew that I promise will become your favourite too. If you’ve got a slow cooker or a crockpot, this is the perfect dish for it!


Serves 4

  • 700 g (1½ lb) beef “digital muscle” (see note) or other stew-friendly beef such as shank, round or chuck, cut into 1-inch thick pieces.
  • 2 generous pinches of salt
  • 5 cups unsalted, plain beef stock (see note)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Golden Mountain sauce
  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp black soy sauce (confused by all these sauces? See this video!)
  • 3 Tbsp dark brown sugar, palm sugar is okay too
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 slices galangal
  • 10 slices ginger
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns, cracked
  • ½ tsp white peppercorns, cracked
  • Optional herbs and spices you can also add: lemongrass tops, white cardamom pods, dried goji berries, sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 onion, large dice
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, optional
  • 4-inch piece daikon, cut into 1-inch slices (I didn’t use this in the video, but it’s a nice addition if you have it)
  • Chopped cilantro and green onions for serving
  • Optional condiments: Chili vinegar (any kinds of chilies soaked in 5% white vinegar for at least 15 minutes before using). Fried garlic is great on this too!

Notes: This cut of beef is officially called “super digital flexor muscle” which is a part of the cow’s hind legs. It is unique in the clear marbling of tendons all throughout the meat.

To make plain beef stock for this recipe, simply simmer 1½ lb of beef bones in about 8 cups of water for 3 hours, skimming off all the scum that floats to the top, adding more water as needed to keep the bones submerged. If you end up with less than 5 cups of stock, simply add more liquid to make up the shortfall. I highly recommend homemade beef stock so that you don’t get extra flavourings and salt often added to commercial beef stock. But if you’re gonna buy it, make sure it is UNSALTED! 


Sprinkle salt over the meat on both sides. In a pot, add a little bit of oil to coat the bottom and heat over medium high heat. Add the meat and sear without stirring until well-browned. Do not crowd the pan; you will have to do this in batches. Flip and sear the other side.

Once you’re done, pour off excess oil but leave the browned bits in the pot; however, if you’ve burned these bits and they’ve turned black, scrub them off before proceeding. Browned bits give a nice flavour, but burned bits do not!

Return all beef to the pot, cover with the beef stock and add soy sauce, Golden Mountain sauce, oyster sauce, black soy sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer.

While the beef is coming to a simmer, make your spice bag: In a muslin soup bag or on a square piece of cheesecloth, place all the spices and herbs except onions, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, and daikon. Close the bag, or if using cheesecloth tie the corners together to secure the spices inside.

If you notice any foam on top of the stew at this point, skim it off before adding the spice bag. Add the spice bag and push it in until it is submerged. Add onion, garlic, shiitake mushrooms and daikon (if using), then cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.

After 3 hours, remove the spice bag and taste and adjust seasoning with more salt or sugar as needed. Serve with rice or pour over noodles to make a delicious noodle soup! Top with chopped cilantro and onions, and drizzle with a little chili vinegar if desired. Enjoy!

Thai Beef Stew