Margarita's International Recipes


Kenyan Beef Stew

Kenyan Beef Stew

Beef stew is a very common dish in Kenya. Indeed, when I worked in Kenya many years ago, I had it almost every day for lunch. The building where I was working had a tiny restaurant where a couple of dishes were available for take out for some ridiculously low price. Beef stew was pretty much always in the menu. It tasted a lot like the one I made at home, so it was comfort food for me.

There are, of course, many different recipes for beef stew in Kenya. They seem to usually include red onions, fresh tomatoes (but I used canned diced tomatoes, usually a better choice for stews during fall and winter), beef, potatoes and carrots. They often have curry powder, sometimes ginger and bell peppers. The recipe I made also called for coconut milk, which gave it a unique flavor.

It was quite good, though I used chuck instead of the top round I usually use for quick stews - chuck is less dry, but far chewier. I also didn't add the carrots, bell peppers or cilantro - the first two because I didn't have at hand, the latter because I forgot. I'll add it to the leftovers. This dish is usually served with rice, but I served with naan bread, because it was easier. It needed a lot of extra salt at the end, but that was easy to add. I'd definitely make it again.


Kenyan Beef Stew


  • 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs stewing beef, cubed
  • 2 large red onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes or 6 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp p paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 2-4 carrots, sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the cubed beef and brown on all sides. Remove the beef using a slotted spoon, and set aside.

Add the onions and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the diced tomatoes, water, tomato paste, bay leaves, curry powder, paprika, ground ginger and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, them reduce the temperature to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Return beef to the pot and add coconut milk and potatoes. Bring back to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the temperature to low and simmer until the beef and potatoes are almost done, about 20 minutes. Add the carrots and red peppers and cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle cilantro on top and serve.

Adapted from several recipes.

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