• Kupang’s smoked beef (daging se’i Kupang) (The Good Cooks)

This recipe is from Kupang, located on the Indonesian island of Timor. The smoky flavour of the beef matches well with a spicy sauce made with chillies and herbs.






Skill level

Average: 2.6 (10 votes)


  • 2 kg chuck steak, cut into 15 – 25 cm strips
  • curing salt
  • Ceylon oak (kayu kesambi) branches, for smoking
  • banana leaf, cut in half


Spiced chilli sauce (sambal lu’at)

  • 250 g red chillies (see note)
  • 25 g garlic
  • 25 g ginger
  • 25 g galangal
  • 25 g basil
  • 25 g coriander
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp salt or chicken stock powder

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Rub the meat with salt, pepper and the curing salt, and set aside.
  2. Build and light a fire, and allow the wood to burn so it has hot embers below.
  3. Place the meat on a smoking rack set approximately 60 cm above the fire. Cover the meat with a large bunch of the kesambi branches and the banana leaf, placed directly on top of the kesambi.
  4. Add more wood, keep the heat constant and let the smoke generate gently. Cook beef for about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, to make sauce, wash and dry all ingredients, and wipe off excess moisture. Using a pestle and mortar or food processor, mince chillies. Set aside.
  6. Peel garlic, ginger and the galangal, and finely chop. Finely slice basil and coriander.
  7. Mix all the prepared ingredients thoroughly, then add the lime juice and salt or stock powder to taste. Transfer to a clean jar (see note).
  8. Remove beef from the heat and serve with the chilli sauce.



• Birdseye chillies are best for this recipe.

• Store the jar of sauce in a cool dry place. It tastes so much better if consumed after 2 days of fermentation. This sambal will normally last for several weeks.


The Good Cooks premieres on Thursday 8 November at 8.30pm. The series airs Thursdays at 8.30pm (with an encore on Sundays at 6.30pm) on SBS Food (Channel 33). After they air, episodes will stream at SBS On Demand