Beef Satay Stew has tender beef coated in a creamy, Southeast Asian-style satay sauce for a fun, unique dinner!
This hearty, easy beef stew recipe can be served over regular rice or follow the instructions for easy sweet potato rice.
And it can be made on the stovetop, in a slow-cooker or in an Instant Pot.
Plus this beef stew is gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, Paleo and Whole30!
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So what is Beef Satay Stew?
So it goes something like this: I love beef satay with peanut sauce.
But the sauce, and often the beef marinade, contains soy sauce. Soy sauce contains wheat. Can’t eat it.
So how about I just take my favorite ingredients from the marinade and the sauce and pour it into a pot with the beef?
Hence, Beef Satay Stew. Done.
Since it’s made throughout Southeast Asia, there’s no one way to Satay, if you will.
And since I’m not of Southeast Asian descent, I’m not going to try to say what “authentic” beef satay is anyway.
I’m mainly going by memory here, thinking of the juicy, salty, savory beef dipped into a deep, creamy, spicy peanut sauce that I’ve had in restaurants around Chicago.
What you need for this Southeast Asian beef stew
- 2-2.5 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 2″ chunks (preferably grass-fed)
- 1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 (14.5-15 oz.) can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup pitted dates
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 4 garlic cloves or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust per your desired level of spiciness)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened sunbutter (for nut-free) or your favorite nut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
- Optional toppings like toasted sesame seeds, sliced scallions and/or lime wedges.
- Serve this Asian beef stew with rice, sweet potato rice (see below), cauliflower rice or parsnip rice.
- Depending on how you want to make it, you’ll need a Dutch oven for the stovetop, a slow-cooker or an Instant Pot
- A large mixing bowl
- A blender or stick blender
- A slotted spoon
- A small skillet (if toasting sesame seeds)
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- A measuring glass
- A slotted spoon
- A whisk
How to make this Southeast Asian beef stew
Toss the beef with salt in a large bowl.
Blend coconut milk, coconut aminos, dates, white and light green parts of the scallions (onion powder), garlic (or garlic powder), cumin, coriander and red pepper flakes in a blender until smooth.
Or add the ingredients to a deep bowl or container and use a stick blender.
Taste the sauce and add salt if necessary.
If you have time to marinate, toss the beef with the sauce and let sit at room temperature for one hour or in the fridge for up to 24 hours. It’s not necessary but it adds more depth of flavor.
If cooking on the stovetop, add the beef and sauce, bring to a boil and reduce heat so it simmers 2 hours. Cover the pan if it looks like the sauce is reducing too much.
If using a slow-cooker, add the beef and sauce and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours.
If using an Instant Pot, add the beef and sauce and cook for 20 minutes. Immediately release the pressure.
No matter what method you use, when the beef is done (it’ll be lusciously tender), remove it with a slotted spoon.
Whisk the sunbutter/nut butter and lime juice into the sauce, taste the sauce and adjust seasoning.
Pour the sauce over the beef and serve, adding the toppings if you like.
How to make sweet potato rice
- White or orange sweet potatoes
Peel and trim the ends off the sweet potatoes.
Chop into small cubes and either pulse 5-7 times in a food processor until in rice-sized pieces or grate with the large holes of a box grater.
Add to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap with a small vent, and nuke for 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly cooked but still with some texture to it (not completely soggy).
Stir in the salt, taste and adjust seasoning.
Make ahead ideas
The sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
The beef stew will keep in the fridge for up to 6 days.
The stew can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
The sweet potato rice can be made and stored separately in the fridge for up to 6 days.
It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Heat the stew up over medium heat on the stove or for 2-5 minutes in the microwave.
If making the stew in advance, skip the garnishes or stir the sesame seeds and scallions into the stew for added texture. Omit the lime wedges or tuck one into each container with the stew, remove before re-heating and spritz the stew once it’s warm.
Substitutions and variations
- You can use tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) instead of coconut aminos in the sauce
- You can use date syrup, maple syrup or coconut sugar instead of dates (if doing a Whole30, stick with the dates or leave them out entirely)
- You can leave out the red pepper flakes or add more if you like a spicy beef stew
- Use any unsweetened nut butter you like: sunbutter (for nut-free), almond butter, peanut butter, etc.
OTHER STEWS AND BEEF RECIPES
Beef Satay Stew with Sweet Potato Rice
- 2-2½ pounds beef stew meat (2" chunks)
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 (14.5-15 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup coconut aminos (see note)
- ¼ cup dates, pitted (see notes)
- 1 bunch scallions or 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 4 garlic cloves or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust per your preference)
- ¼ cup unsweetened sunbutter or other nut butter
- ½ teaspoon lime juice
- ¼ cup sesame seeds (optional, see notes)
- scallion greens (optional, see notes)
- lime wedges (optional, see notes)
Sweet Potato Rice
- 3 pounds white or orange sweet potatoes (about 3 medium/large)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more if necessary
For the beef stew:
- Toss the beef with 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt and set aside.
- If using, thinly sliced the scallions, reserving the darker green parts. Peel and coarsely chop the garlic.
- In a blender or food processor, blitz the coconut milk, coconut aminos, dates, white and light green scallions slices or onion powder, chopped garlic or garlic powder, cumin, ground coriander and red pepper flakes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
- If you have time to marinate (it's not necessary but adds a bit more depth of flavor), toss the beef with the sauce and marinate at room temperature for one hour. For any longer than that, store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- For the sesame seeds: While your stew is cooking per one of the methods below, toast your sesame seeds, if using. Add the seeds to a small, dry, cold skillet. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally. Once you begin to smell them after about 5 minutes, you don't want to walk away or they'll burn evenly. Keep stirring until they're evenly toasted, then pour into a bowl.
- For the stovetop: add the beef to a heavy Dutch oven or stock pot and pour the sauce over. Stir the beef to make sure it's evenly coated. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 2 hours. Cover if it looks like the sauce is reducing too much. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the pot. Whisk in the sunbutter and lime juice. Taste and add more salt if necessary, then mix the beef back into the sauce. Serve warm, garnished with the toasted sesame seeds and dark scallion greens, with lime wedges on the side for spritzing.
- For the crockpot: add the beef to the crockpot and pour the sauce over. Stir the beef to make sure it's evenly coated. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours, or until the beef is tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the pot. Whisk in the sunbutter and lime juice. Taste and add more salt if necessary, then mix the beef back into the sauce. Serve warm, garnished with the toasted sesame seeds and dark scallion greens, with lime wedges on the side for spritzing.
- For the Instant Pot: add the beef to the insert and pour the sauce over. Stir the beef to make sure it's evenly coated and the sauce reaches the bottom of the pot. Cover, seal and cook for 20 minutes. Immediately release the pressure (or letting it naturally de-pressurize is fine, too). Use a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the pot. Whisk in the sunbutter and lime juice. Taste and add more salt if necessary, then mix the beef back into the sauce. Serve warm, garnished with the toasted sesame seeds and dark scallion greens, with lime wedges on the side for spritzing.
For the sweet potato rice:
- Peel and trim the ends off the sweet potatoes. Chop the sweet potatoes into small cubes and blitz in a food processor until you get rice-sized pieces (about 5-7 pulses), ricing them in batches if necessary. Or use the large holes of a box grater.
- Pour the sweet potato rice into a microwave-safe bowl and seal with plastic wrap, allowing for a small gap somewhere around the rim. Nuke for 5 minutes, uncover, stir and nuke for another 2-4 minutes, until desired texture is achieved (I like my rice to have a little bite to it). Stir in the salt, taste and add more salt if necessary.