Beef Stew – Comfort Food for da Locals

If you go to any restaurant that sells local food here in Hawaii, you can bet your *okole that Beef Stew will be on that list —- *guarenzz.

Chicken and Dumplings is to mainland, as Beef Stew is to Hawaii. This is one of the top comfort foods any local will tell you. Just ask my husband. It’s his favorite.

It took me some time before I mastered Beef Stew. The key is to get your meat cooked just right so that it melts in your mouth. Serve it over a bowl of hot rice, and you got some *ono kine grindz. I adapted this recipe from Harry Kojima’s recipe book I found many years ago.

Whenever I make beef stew, I always chop everything up ahead of time. It just makes it easier and little less time consuming while I’m cooking. Making beef stew does take a couple of hours, but if you have all your ingredients prepped before starting, it will feel like no work at all.

Things to chop: onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic, salt . . . (just kidding), and some good chuck roast.

Assuming all your ingredients are chopped, heat a pot with about 2 tbsp of oil on medium high while you dredge your beef first. For all you first time “cookers”, dredging is just sprinkling a coat of flour over your meat. Once your oil is hot, throw your garlic in and as all the TV chefs say, let the flavor infuse. This will actually only take a couple of seconds. Once you smell that garlic, throw your meat in to brown.

Now remember, we’re not fully cooking the meat at this point. If you try to do that, you will end up with *ono kine rubba. We’re just browning the beef. Stir around your beef in the hot oil. The outside of the meat should have a nice brown color. You’re meat will not look cooked enough to eat. In fact, it will look more raw than cooked. That’s how you want it at this point.

Next, throw in your onions, (I’m not sure why I’m always throwing my ingredients around. Part of my bossy nature I guess). Cook the onions with your meat for a few minutes. Pour in your water and add your bay leaves. Turn your heat to a low medium heat, enough to have the water simmer. Cover your pot with a lid, but not completely. I usually have a small opening for steam to escape, and so I can make sure my heat is not too high that the water is boiling, and not too low that the meat is just sitting there bathing. The recipe I use says to simmer your meat for about 1 1/2 hrs. I usually don’t start my dinner in time to allow my meat to simmer for that long. I usually just simmer the meat for about 30 to 45 minutes. See. Enough time to watch a Hulu episode of Team Damon or whatever floats your boat. Once you got  your fill of Team Damon, or whatever show you were watching. What? It’s not called Team Damon. Ok, nevermind. Back to the recipe. Add your vegetables at this point.

To give it color and more flavor, pour in a can of tomato sauce and some salt.

Then partially cover your pot and allow to simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes. After your stew has simmered, you will want to thicken your stew. I cheat and just use a thickener and get it to “stew thickness”.

When your beef stew has been thickened. It’s ready to be poured on top a plate (or bowl) or hot rice. Please make sure you have some hot rice on standby. You cannot eat this any other way. You just can’t. There IS no other way to eat Beef Stew when you’re in Hawaii. If you want to be called a local, you gotta have rice.

Oh my goodness, if you follow my directions, your meat should melt in your mouth when you eat this. And if this does happen for you, you may in fact pronounce yourself a beef stew master. Go ahead and take a bow.

*okole = your bootie     *guarenzz = guarentee           *ono kine grindz = really delicious food            *ono kine rubba = really delicious piece of rubber



Difficulty: Not that hard               Prep Time: 15 minutes                    Cook Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours                   Servings: Feeds a Family of Six Hungry People


2 cloves of garlic, chopped                                       2 Tbsp oil

1 1/2 pounds of chuck roast, cubed                        1/2 of an onion, chopped

5 cups of water                                                          2 bay leaves

1 cup of chopped carrots                                         1 cup of chopped celery

1 cup of potatoes, cubed                                         1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

2 tsp salt

Heat oil in a pot set on medium high heat. While oil is heating, dredge beef in about 1/2 cup of flour. Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook for just a few seconds, then add in your beef. Brown beef for about 2 minutes, then add in your onions and cook for a few more minutes.

Once your onions are looking a little cooked, your meat is partially brown, pour in water and throw in your bay leaves. Set your heat to medium low, partially cover your pot with a lid and let your meat simmer for about 30-45 minutes.

At this stage, pour in your chopped vegetables, can of tomato sauce, and add in your salt. Mix all your ingredients and partially cover your pot again, leaving it to simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes. When your meat and vegetables are cooked, you’ll want to thicken your stew. Once it’s thickened, it’s ready to eat. Pour over a bowl of hot rice and just enjoy this local favorite.


Da Beezee Coconut

5 Responses to “Beef Stew – Comfort Food for da Locals”

  1. Tried this recipe and it is one of the better ones i’ve tried. Although I did have an issue with the veggies not cooking =( They were still hard. I ended up cooking them for another 2 hours after this recipe ended. What would you suggest?

    • Malie says:

      Hmmm. I usually don’t have a problem with my veggies being cooked. My only suggestion would be to either do what you did and cook your veggies a little longer, or turn up the heat just a tad, high enough to cook, but still low enough that the stew is simmering and not in a rolling boil. Hope that helps.

  2. Monique says:

    Best recipe ever! Very easy to prepare and is extremely delicious!

  3. Is cornstarch used to thicken the stew? If so, how much? This is a must try for me since I left Hawaii 30 years ago.

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