Neua tom kem recipe (stewed Thai beef)


This recipe is taken from the book ‘Baan’ by Kay Plunkett-Hogge (Flag) and is one of my favorites. Take beef shin for this – slowly cooked, it becomes so tender.

Preparation time: 15 min | Cooking time: 3 hours 15 minutes


Four (more if served with other dishes)


  • 600g beef shank, boneless and cut into pieces
  • 500 ml beef broth or water
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • A handful of cilantro stems, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
  • 6 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of black soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 sweet red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced, for serving
  • A handful of cilantro leaves, for serving
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For the vinegar sauce (optional)

  • 75 ml of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped or sliced


  1. Put the beef in a saucepan and add the broth or water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to minimum and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  2. Place the garlic, coriander stems and peppercorns in a small food processor and reduce to a paste, or pound in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Mix the fish sauce, soy sauce, 1/4 tsp. salt and sugar in a bowl. Stir to help dissolve the sugar.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan and brown the dough for 30 seconds. It is important not to let the garlic burn. Add this to the fish sauce.
  5. Remove the scum that has accumulated in the pan with a skimmer and stir in the contents of the bowl. Cover the pan, keep it on low heat and cook for 3 hours. Stir occasionally. Towards the end of cooking, check the thickness of the juices – leave the lid closed if you want them to thicken.
  6. To make the vinegar sauce, heat the vinegar and sugar together, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Add the chilli and let cool.
  7. Sprinkle the sliced ​​chili and cilantro over the beef and serve the vinegar sauce on the side.
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