Gepuk: Sundanese Bruised Beef

Gepuk Sundanese Bruised Beef

This time I will share one of the traditional food that originally from West Java, Indonesia. We call it Gepuk or commonly called Empal. As usual I translate a lot of Indonesian recipes in English. Some of them are a little bit quirky and some of them sound reasonable and make sense. For gepuk in English I call it Sundanese bruised beef.

The cooking process is by simmering the beef for 1 hour or until tender, then we set aside and bruise/smash the beef with pestle and simmer it again with seasonings until all of the water evaporated and we end up frying it.

While waiting for braised meat, I usually use the time to prepare the seasonings. By the way gepuk needs a lot more seasonings than another recipes.

In my opinion, a distinctive flavor that should not be lost in this gepuk recipe is galangal. In addition to give an aroma to a dish and increase appetite, galangal also good for warming and cleansing our body (detoxification).

Another important ingredient is coconut cream. Coconut cream is different from coconut milk. We can get coconut cream from squeezing the grated coconut without adding water. Coconut milk contains more water because we add water to the grated coconut. For this recipe I lucky enough to find coconut cream in traditional market that I saw the making process live. But most of it is sold in supermarket in a bundle.

I had a little accident when I making gepuk. I was busy preparing the seasonings while I simmered the beef over high heat. I think the fire was too large so that the boiling water was overflow from the pot. I quite surprised and then I reduced the heat to medium low. Lesson learned: keep paying attention to the braised beef.

Once the beef is tender, set aside. Cut the meat crosswise the veins so we can see the fiber. Its the characteristic of gepuk. And then bruise it with pestle or a meat tenderizer.

After all the seasonings and bruised beef are ready, I heat a wok (large frying pan) over medium heat and sauté grounded spices with a vegetable oil until fragrant. Then I add the beef, coconut cream and beef broth. Stir occasionally so that the cream is not broke. Simmer until all of the water evaporates and you will find that there is an oil from vegetable oil and coconut cream. Use that oil to fry the beef until golden. Turn off the heat and enjoy with steamed rice.

Gepuk: Sundanese Bruised Beef


500 grams/1 lb lean beef

2 bay leaves

2 stalks lemongrass, crushed

4 cm galangal, grated

1 tsp tamarind paste

½ cup coconut cream

3 cups beef broth, from simmering the beef

½ block of brown sugar (30 grams)

1 tbsp dried fried shallots for garnish

1 stalk chopped celery for garnish

2 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper, to taste

Grounded spices:

6 shallots

4 cloves garlic

1 tbsp coriander

½ tsp pepper

¼ tsp sugar

5 candlenuts


1. Simmer the beef for at least 60 minutes until tender. Save 3 cups of the broth.

2. Grate galangal.

3. Grind all the spices with pestle and mortar or food processor.

4. Cut the meat into 10 pieces crosswise the veins and bruise/smash with pestle or meat tenderizer.

5. In a wok sauté grounded spices along with grated galangal, bay leaf, and lemongrass over medium heat.

6. Add coconut cream and beef broth, stir so that the cream does not break.

7. Add the beef.

8. Season with tamarind paste, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

9. Stir occasionally until all of the water completely evaporated.

10. Let the remaining oil in a frying pan fry the beef until golden.

11. Remove from heat and serve.

12. Garnish with chopped fried shallots and chopped celery.

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