Chef Damian D’Silva knows comfort food. He has been dishing out hearty, familiar flavours for years, with a massive repertoire of family recipes that he has gathered over many years. Now the chef-owner at heritage restaurant Folklore, he has made it his mission to introduce Singaporeans to many of the painstaking, and sometimes-forgotten traditional dishes of the various local ethnicities.
The recipe for this corned beef stew comes from the Eurasian side of his family, although the community in Singapore only took to corned beef as an ingredient during, and after World War Two. D’Silva shares that “canned, corned beef was part of the rations during the Japanese occupation”, after which it eventually entered the compendium of ingredients used in everyday Eurasian cooking.
Corned Beef Stew
Serves: 4 | Level: easy
Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Oil for frying
- 3 pc star anise
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 10 cloves
- 3 bombay onions, peeled and quartered
- 4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 can corned beef
Note: While the onions and potatoes keep well in a cool, dark place, they can be easily substituted with dried onion powder and freeze-dried potatoes. Use 1tsp onion powder for each onion in the recipe.
Heat oil in container over medium heat. When hot, add the spices and cook till fragrant. Next, add the onions and cook for about 5 mins.
Add 1.5 litres of water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes. Cook till flavour and essence of the spices have flavours the liquid and the potatoes are soft.
When the liquid has reduced to a third, add the corned beef and cook for 10 mins more. The corned beef should also salt the liquid so taste before adding salt.
Serve with rice and sambal belachan.