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Empal: Deep Fried Sliced Beef

Empal: Deep Fried Sliced Beef

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Category: Beef & Lamb
  • Method: Deep Fry
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Halal


Empal is a dish of deep fried beef slices, considered a luxury in Indonesian home cooking because it calls for premium cuts of beef. The beef is stewed in a spice paste, lightly pounded, then fried, resulting in a rich and savoury dish.


  • 1 kg topside beef
  • 8 small shallots, peeled, chopped 
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped 
  • 2 candlenuts, chopped 
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 2 Indonesian bay leaves (daun salam)
  • 3 cm galangal, skin-on, bruised
  • 1 tsp tamarind 
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • Oil for deep frying 


  1. Slice the meat along the grain, with each slice measuring around 2×10 cm. Set aside.
  2. Using a blender or food processor, blend the shallots, garlic, candlenut and coriander seeds into a fine paste. 
  3. In a nonstick cooking pot, put the sliced meat, spice paste, galangal and salt.

    Add sliced meat, spice paste, galangal and salt.

  4. Extract the tamarind juice by squeezing it with 2 tbsp of water. 
  5. Add the tamarind extract to the pan.

    Add tamarind extract

  6. Add 1 cup of water.
  7. Mix all the ingredients together and cook it under a medium high flame.
  8. When it boils, reduce the flame to medium. 
  9. Continue cooking for another 45 minutes or until the meat is tender, but still firm. If you find the pot drying up, add hot water to prevent burning.

    Continue cooking for 45 minutes

  10. Turn off the flame and cool off the meat.
  11. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the meat lightly, making sure the meat does not disintegrate.

    Pound the meat lightly

  12. Fry the meat until it turns brown, around 2-3 minutes each side.

    Deep fry until golden-brown


  • After Step 10, you can keep the cooked meat in the refrigerator and fry it later.

Keywords: Non-spicy, fried meat, tamarind, galangal, candlenut