Sweet Black Beef (Daging Masak Hitam)

Sweet Black Beef (Daging Masak Hitam)

There’s a wide variety of dishes in Malaysian cuisine which reflect the multiracial and multicultural groups, each with their own specialties. Daging masak hitam belongs to the Malay culture, which literally translates to beef cooked black. It is a dish of sweetened beef simmered in aromatics and meat spices with a very characteristic dark hue, attributing to generous use of thick/dark soy sauce. This soy sauce, though not very well known stateside, is used to add a rich dark color to dishes and lend its distinct sweet flavor.

Sweet Black Beef (Daging Masak Hitam)

With so many dark colored dishes in Asian cuisine, it’s easy to fall under the assumption that they all taste the same, yet a minor tweak here and little dash of something there can drastically alter the flavor and give it its distinct taste, worthy of a name on its own.

Sweet Black Beef (Daging Masak Hitam)

Although this particular dish is not much to look at; unappetizing slabs of black, there is a depth of flavor which is reflected in the many spices and aromatics used to make it.

Sweet Black Beef (Daging Masak Hitam)

Sweet Black Beef (Daging Masak Hitam)

  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Yield: 2 1x


  • 1 lb. beef tenderloin, sliced into thick squares
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/4 star anise
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice

Spice paste

  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 dried chilies, soaked in warm water


  1. Blend all the spice paste ingredients
  2. Over medium high heat, saute the spice blend, cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves and star anise until fragrant
  3. Add cumin, fennel and coriander powder and stir to combine
  4. Add beef and cook until beef is no longer pink
  5. Add dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, brown sugar and tamarind juice, mixing well
  6. Simmer over medium low heat until the sauce thickens
  7. Dish and serve hot



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Navaneetham Krishnan
    September 2, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    Definitely very popular in Malaysia. We don’t eat beef so I can’t comment on the taste but have heard much about the fabulous flavors from my friends. The spices are spot on, for tad bit of clinging gravy.

  • Reply
    September 29, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve really
    loved surfing around your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing
    to your feed and I am hoping you write again
    very soon!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.