Many shades of black…

No, this post has got nothing to do with the infamous 50 shades of grey – it is all about our Sarawak’s own culinary delight – the daging masak hitam

Daging masak hitam 1

…literally translated as meat (beef) cooked black.

Here, we have the instant paste…

Liza's instant paste 1

…which if I am not mistaken, is made in Miri, available at many shops and supermarkets at less than RM4.50 a tub.

I have noticed, however, that no matter what product it may be, the suggested cooking instructions and the list of ingredients…

Liza's instant paste 2

…are all the same so one should be aware of that and not follow everything blindly.

To cook the dish, I had this imported Australian beef…


…sliced thinly and across the grain so it will not be tough and I marinated it with the instant paste.

In the meantime, I peeled and chopped one Bombay onion and bruised the ends of two serai (lemon grass) stalks…

Onion, chili and serai

These would be the two extra ingredients we would add whenever we use any instant paste in our cooking. That day, I also sliced some chili thinly to add to the dish for a little bit of heat. My missus is not really crazy about our daging masak hitam and my guess is it is because generally, the dish is not spicy.

I fried the onion in a bit of oil…

Fry the onion

…before adding the lemon grass and the chili…

Add serai & chili

…after which, in went the beef…

Add beef

Mix everything thoroughly and stir fry till the juices have come out of the meat so you will have a bit of sauce or gravy. You may add a bit of water if you would like more of it…and a bit of sugar if you would like it savoury sweet.

I simmered it for a while and when it was done, I dished it out…

Daging masak hitam 2

…and served and needless to say, it was great…

Daging masak hitam 3

…but no, it was not quite there, for want of a handful of raisins, blended and those spices that they sell in the shops for use in sup tulang (bone soup) would be an added bonus.

I did send this instant paste to Elin and also Phong Hong and I sent some to Lilian, Merryn’s mum too and Merryn said that she kept one tub for herself to try. I wonder if she has got down to it yet…

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

6 thoughts on “Many shades of black…”

  1. I love this but never cook this dish before. During CNY, we will get some one to cook for our open house. It was good. Full of raisin so the sweetness was there as well as the spices.

    Yes, that should be the way! We had one very good one at the roadside Malay food stall at Bandong, cheap too but I never go and buy anymore as it has soy sauce, not gluten-free. I would always pick it should I see it at the Malay nasi campur places but some are good, some not even as nice as mine. Nice one at a Chinese place here too, former Red Carrot/Tanahmas chef, my girl loves his curry – I will always ask for that when I go for his nasi lemak.

  2. I love this dish and have cooked it before using this same brand of paste. Haven’t seen them on the shelves for quite sometimes.

    Very hard to find especially their masak hitam, always sold out. I saw Kuching’s Leni Brand at a supermarket the other day, dunno if that is any good. Will try one of these days.

  3. Good cooking. I wonder what ingredient in the paste is the black element?

    Dark soy sauce – some say the best is the Camel Brand, some say the sweet Indonesian one, kicap manis. And of course, the raisins are a must – I could not taste any in this instant paste so to me, that was quite disappointing. I cooked from scratch once but it was not successful:
    I think my mistake was adding santan to the dish – everyone told me I should not have done that, no santan in our daging masak hitam.
    Some are really very black – my missus insists they use browning, I dunno.

  4. ooo, i don’t think we see daging masak hitam much over here. i guess the closest equivalent might be some hakka and nyonya dishes that are also beautiful in black 😀

    I cooked this dish and shared with my West Malaysian counterparts when we were in the UK, 1994 – initially, they thought it was daging masak kicap. When they tried it, they all wanted the recipe!

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